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Uzbekistan: Rumours and deception

The most discussed issue in Uzbekistan these days is the decision of the government to renew all car license plates. Car owners are surprised. The government explains its decision with the need to comply with international requirements and standards. Jamiyat writes about this in his blog. He says that the decision of the government may create kickbacks for an unfaithful group of people.

Knowing the popularity of having special numbers on cars (likewise on mobile phones) among the Uzbeks, and high “prices” for such numbers, the likelihood that many registration agencies and unfaithful policemen might use this innovation to fill their pockets is very high.

The independent Internet newspaper Uzmetronom writes (RUS) that everyone who voluntarily applies for a new license plate till the end of 2007 will be freed from any taxes and get the plate for free.

On August 3, the human rights organization “Ezgulik” distributed the alleged last will of Mutabar Tajibaeva (RUS), a human rights activist who is currently detained in prison for fraud. In the letter, Mutabar Tajieva writes about the tortures of prisoners and says that she cannot stand it any longer. She also calls all international organizations to take appropriate actions to prevent this intolerable treatment in Uzbek prisons. However, Mutabar Tajieva believes that it may be too late when someone starts taking actions.

The opposition blog Turonzamin (RUS) quotes the brother of Mutabar Tajieva, who says that he does not believe in the veracity of the letter. In contrary, the information agency Ferghana.ru (RUS) writes that the letter is true and, strangely, also quotes the brother and daughter of Mutabar Tajieva. The blog Turonzamin justifies its point saying the government bodies will not be able to break the will of Mutabar, who is tolerating all hardships of the prison, even though she has become physically weak.

Turonzamin calls this another strategy of the government. The blog writes that using this strategy the government can get rid of Mutabar Tajieva.

Such strategies of the government may have really bad consequences for prisoners. The law enforcement bodies can kill a prisoner and explain it to the public as suicide. And the fake letter allegedly written by Mutabar Tajieva looks like to be one of such strategies of the government. Therefore, in this situation it is necessary to immediately demand a meeting with Mutabar Tajieva in order to make sure that she is still alive!

Jamiyat comments on the accusation of Vyacheslav Manokhin, a P-3 UN staff member, for using his position to obtain visas for Uzbek and Ukrainian citizens, who were supposedly going to attend conferences in the USA and France. Jamiyat writes about the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Uzbekistan that is a main implementer of UN policies in the regions, and accuses them for being nonchalant in carrying out their mission.

There were always dirty rumors surrounding the UNDP's activities… One of the most widespread rumors in Uzbekistan is that its mainly local staff is corrupt, and offers employment in various projects only to those who pay bribes… Also, it has been rumored that many of the Uzbek UNDP employees are in kinship relations with various Uzbek politicians and were employed simply for that fact… Who to blame… Perhaps, it is the US embassy's fault? For remaining nonchalant and ignorant towards checking up the fraudulent letters with the UNDP office in Uzbekistan… Perhaps,both [the UNDP and the US Embassy]?

Another interesting issue that was raised in the Uzbekistani blogosphere for the past two weeks is the problem with Uzbek Democratic Party Erk website that, according to the largest search engine Google, allegedly possesses harmful web content. In his blog, Jamiyat comments (ENG) about the fact that Google finds Erk’s site harmful to its users, where he wonders if Google cooperates with national security services of Uzbekistan. The comments to this post (ENG) mainly proved that the problem is in the malicious code that could be inserted by hackers to the opposition party’s website HTML content.

Sami Ben Gharbia commented:

According to the Open Net Initiative and the StopBadware.org that I’ve contacted about this, it seems that it is not a filtering case. Google has found some malicious code on the Uzbek Democratic Party Erk website, which is most likely has been victim of a malicious hacking attack inserting some bad code… In order to remove the warning the webmaster needs to find the code and then clean and secure the website. Then he needs to submit a request for review to StopBadware.org who will check the site and recommend to Google to remove its warning flag.

The blog Civil Society of Uzbekistan also proves (RUS) the point that in this situation Google has nothing to do with security services of Uzbekistan. All problems are in the HTML code of the site that may contain harmful software.

The Uzbek Democratic Party Erk’s vision (RUS) of this issue is different. They believe that politics plays a great role in this. They do not say anything about the technical side of the problem, however.

It is very interesting. How can the information website of the party be harmful to your computer? Maybe, because it gives you information about what is happening in Uzbekistan? About the torture that is done by butchers in the prisons of the country. About the oppression of the nation by the dictator Islam Karimov and his people. And your computer will start melting after accessing this information? Or millions of gigabytes of viruses will attack your machine?

Taking into consideration the party’s and site’s “popularity”, and also in the light of the upcoming presidential elections where Erk wants to field its candidate, one must not be a genius to see the obvious fact that Erk is using this problem for PR.

Kamron comments (RUS) on an article on the independent information agency Informator.uz (RUS). The author of the article claims that allegedly there is a conception among Uzbeks in Uzbekistan that Russian people (who live in Uzbekistan) pollute the environment more than anyone, because they like to keep pets in their apartments. Kamron got many responses to his post, where people agreed (!) that there is such a tendency among Uzbeks and that the mass media must cover everything that is going on in reality.

I wrote (ENG) about breaking news in sports: The WBA heavyweight world champion Ruslan Chagaev, an Uzbekistani citizen, cannot accept the challenge from the Russian boxer Sultan Ibragimov (a a WBO world champion himself) due to illness.

Is Rupert Murdoch coming to Uzbekistan? Rowan Wagner comments (ENG) on some Uzbek editors’ and journalists’ amazing ideas about the media mogul's takeover of the Wall Street Journal.

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