What happens when you mix Kiev politics with Tashkent security? Disaster.
In Tashkent last night (29 January), police detained (or arrested, it’s not really clear) Timur Karpov, a journalist with Lenta.ru; his mother Umida Akhmedova, a well-known social photographer; Alex Ulko, one of our best culture bloggers who also happens to be the son of Gregory Ulko; Ashot Danielyan, a musician; Ilgar Gasymov, who according to his Facebook account is a Ukrainian living in Uzbekistan; and Gul’sum Osmanova.
I was directly informed about the situation around midnight last night, around the same time our colleagues in the Fergana News Agency were also finding out (please see their article here). My source explained that they were part of a group of around 10 individuals who had gone to the Ukrainian Embassy to give their support to the ongoing Euromaidan events in Ukraine. There doesn’t appear to be any information yet on the identities and whereabouts of the rest of the group.
As for those we know about, no information about their whereabouts is currently available; last word was that they were being held in the police department of the Khamza district. Moreover, we were told that Uzbekistan’s National Security Service (Служба национальной безопасности, or SNB) was interrogating them. We were informed that they had physically beaten Alex and Timur, although it was impossible to confirm this.
Update: Our source says that they were all put on secret trial an hour ago. Ulko, Ashot and Artem will be imprisoned for 15 days, Umida, Timur, Ilgar and Dina must pay around 1000 USD.
Also, NewEurasia attempted to perform a small symbolic protest at the Uzbekistan Embassy in Bishkek today. Unfortunately, local police did not permit us to take a photograph with the embassy in the frame. However, they did take our posters to the embassy’s secretary.