Uzbekistan: Live at the Witch Trials

17 Dec

In scenes reminiscent of the hysteria which gripped Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, Tashkent may see a high-profile witchcraft trial as the bitter dispute between the Karimova sisters takes a sinister new twist.

The younger of President Islam Karimov’s two daughters, Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, has turned the tables on her older sibling by threatening to take legal action against Gulnara “in connection with the spread of defamatory statements, slander and threats against me and my husband Timur Tillyaev in social networking websites and the media”.

It is believed that Lola will submit a petition ot the Tashkent branch of the Department for the Investigation of Sorcery-related Affairs (DISA) to investigate her older sister for suspected sorcery.

DISA’s chief prosecutor, Islomgol Bakanderova, told kazaxia that the trial could see a ducking stool set up on the banks of the Ankor Canal in downtown Tashkent. The accused will then be dipped in the icy water to determine their innocence or guilt.

“If he/she survives then this proves that he/she is in league with Satan,” Bakanderova told kazaxia. “If he/she drowns then she is innocent of the crime of sorcery,” she added.

Human rights groups have slammed the proposed trial as unsatisfactory and have questioned the lack of due process in the proceedings. “The death of the accused is not a satifactory means of ascertaining innocence,” an anonymous source told kazaxia. “This is the 21st century – we shouldn’t be relying on 17th century torture methods to determine innocence or guilt.”

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