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
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
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
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.