Video Testimony  

( video from the BBC with Allison Gill of Human Rights Watch)

*Video Interview Transcript

My name is Lutfullo Shamsuddinov, I am chairman of the Independent Organization for Human Rights for the Andijan province. For the past five years I have worked on human rights, specializing in the rights of religious people in our province. I monitored the events of May 13.

Around 5:00 or 5:30, a group of demonstrators started moving to the northern part of the city. I followed on my bicycle, about 50 meters behind them, to continue monitoring. There were about 20 people detained in front of them, they were 15 or 20 hostages whose hands were tied. Behind them were all the protesters, the whole crowd, in front of me. They started moving north until they got to the Cholpon Cinema.

At around 6:00, or 10 to six, the demonstrators stopped. They started shouting that no one would shoot, that the soldiers would not shoot. Then all of a sudden soldiers started shooting. They were shooting from armored personnel carriers and automatic weapons, from the APC there was a sound like –boom-boom-boom-boom; then the automatics—takh-takh-takh. There was such heavy fire. When I heard the first sound I threw myself on the asphalt, I jumped off my bicycle, you know. Lying on the ground, I could hear bullets whistling above my head, barely half a meter above. [whistling noise]. That’s what it sounded like. Then I heard screams—there were women, men—“Don’t shoot, don’t shoot, we’re not armed,” like that. There were maybe 10 people in the crowd who had guns.

The shooting was terrifying. Then it started raining hard, a downpour. There was this downpour, and this hail of bullets. You couldn’t even open your eyes, that’s how hard it was raining. And really heavy gunfire, and machine gun fire. And there was screaming, women’s voices, men’s voices. “Don’t shoot! We have no weapons! Don’t shoot us!” But there was no response, the soldiers kept shooting.

After about 20 minutes, the shooting stopped. Fifteen minutes later, it started again. At that time those who survived started to run away. As people started to flee, the shooting started again, heavy gunfire, very powerful fire.

To our left was Pelekash Street, and I crawled there, dragging my bicycle. I crawled to a three-story building, and started looking around. I saw two APCs and gun emplacements, and then I fled down Pelekash Street.

The people were all lying on the ground. You could hear terrified screams. There were corpses laying there too. A person would fall dead on someone who was alive, covering him in blood. Really heavy bleeding. And people were screaming.

On May 14, around 5:30 in the morning I went back to that place, near school 15, near the Cholpon Cinema. There were slippers belonging to those who were killed. There was blood everywhere. There were human brains on the ground. And a lot of blood. Like a puddle. And there was an odor of meat on the asphalt. A really awful meat-like odor…

And I saw people standing on Cholpon Street, by the three-story building, looking around with terrified expressions. They were looking north, where the dead lay. I also went to look. There were soldiers and five or six people in plainclothes walking amongst them. Then I saw the people in plainclothes were apparently loading corpses onto trucks and a bus. I watched this for 15 or 20 minutes. They had already loaded bodies onto the truck before I got there. It seems I saw only the last ones to be loaded. Then all three trucks and the bus left, heading north.

I saw all of this, I heard it. It was truly horrible. Here you have people who are unarmed, and there, people armed to the teeth, with modern weapons, and they’re shooting.