New Targets in Karimov’s Post-Andijan Repression?
Uzbekistan President Karimov kicking a soccer ball (on left), Kobiljon Obidov (on right)
Ferghana.ru reports that the former Hokim of Andijan Oblast’, Kobiljon Obidov, has been detained under the accusation that he was involved in organizing the infamous protests in Andijan during May 2005. For a long time, Mr. Obidov was seen as one of President Karimov’s closest allies. Obidov was given the prestigious prize of “Hero of Uzbekistan” in August 1998, and he served as Hokim of Andijan Oblast’ for approximately eleven years. Since 2004, however, Obidov has been increasingly out of favor. In May 2004, Karimov removed him from the position of Hokim of Andijan Oblast’. Since May of 2006, Mr. Obidov’s son, Ulugbek, has reportedly been wanted for various crimes he committed when his father was Hokim of Andijan. The same report suggested that Kobiljon Obidov was under house arrest beginning in May of this year. According to Ferghana.ru, Obidov is now imprisoned in the Tashkent jail for his role in the events of May 2005 in Andijan, but the government has not acknowledged this publicly. If they do make this a public accusation, however, it could be a sign that those targeted for repression in connection with the May 2005 events may now be broadened beyond those critical of Karimov’s government and include other elements in the elite that Karimov sees as a potential threat.