Irish analyst accused of 'provoking unrest'

Fri, Nov 23, 2012, 00:00

Security services in Kyrgyzstan have accused an Irish analyst working for a respected think tank of fomenting ethnic hatred, inciting mass unrest and threatening the stability of the central Asian state.

Conor Prasad was working for the Brussels-based International Crisis Group in the southern Kyrgyz town of Osh, where relations between majority Kyrgyz and the minority Uzbek community are tense after clashes in 2010 that killed hundreds of people and displaced hundreds of thousands.

Several international rights groups laid most of the blame for the clashes on the Kyrgyz population and elements of the security services, and criticised the official Kyrgyz investigation into the violence.

Kyrgyzstan’s national security committee said that while Mr Prasad was gathering information on alleged rights abuses against Uzbeks by Kyrgyz and the local authorities, he was also urging “citizens of Uzbek nationality to take an active civil stance”.

Following a complaint about Mr Prasad’s activity in Osh, his car was searched and printed material and electronic storage devices were taken away. These contained “information inciting ethnic hatred, provoking people to mass unrest on the basis of inter-ethnic relations, and also threatens the integrity and stability of the republic,” the security agency said, adding that the authorities were deciding what measures to take against him. An ICG spokesman, Andrew Stroehlein, denied the allegations against Mr Prasad. He said the authorities committed “violations of Kyrgyz law . . . during Conor’s detention and search”.