Uzbekistan: government denies U.N. allegations

The U.N. General Assembly in a January resolution had expressed "grave concern" over the arrest of dissidents, use of torture and the persecution of journalists after the May 2005 Andijan uprising.

In the first official response to the criticism, the Central Asian nation's ambassador to the U.N., Alisher Vokhidov said that Uzbekistan "does not see any grounds for such concerns."

The U.N. resolution also criticized "disproportionate" use of force by Uzbek government troops in quelling the Andijan revolt. Rights groups and witnesses said more than 700 mostly unarmed protesters died, while the authorities put the death toll at 187 and blame the violence on Islamic militants, the AP reports.

Uzbek President Islam Karimov rejected calls for an international probe.

Vokhidov's letter also denied that Uzbekistan had pressured hundreds of Uzbeks that had fled to neighboring Kyrgyzstan after the violence, trying to force them to return.

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