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    Andijan unrest was designed to be a prelude to a coup - British expert

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    LONDON, July 2 (RIA Novosti, Alexander Smotrov) - The public unrest in Andijan (a major Uzbek city) on May 12-13 was designed to be the first step towards a coup, following the Kyrgyz scenario, a British expert for Uzbekistan wrote in her report on Uzbekistan.

    Shirin Akiner, who is also a professor of the London University and associate fellow of the Royal Institute of International Relations (London), told RIA Novosti that many organizations in other countries showed interest in her report that was published this June.

    At the same time, she was surprised that certain politicians and scholars condemned her work.

    Akiner said she had planned to co-organize a NATO seminar on the fight against terrorism and on security in Central Asia that was due in Tashkent (Uzbek capital) on May 26-28. However, the seminar was canceled due to the Andijan events. Still, Akiner went to Uzbekistan to conduct her own investigation into the Andijan unrest.

    According to Akiner, she went to Andijan to understand what had happened, as media reports were confusing and incomplete. She visited hospitals, prisons, cemeteries, and talked to many local residents.

    In the end, she came to the conclusion that the number of victims was most likely close to the government statistics (less than 200 people), and far from the 1,000 cited by the media.

    The action was initiated by armed and trained militants, with some of them coming from outside Uzbekistan, said Akiner.

    She also said she had found no evidence that the action was based on religious or socioeconomic claims. It was most probably politically motivated and sought to start a coup following the Kyrgyz model, the expert said.

    Akiner speaks Russian and Uzbek, is the author of tens of research articles and works, and a regular participant in conferences on Central Asia in the UK and abroad. Her long forefathers came from eastern Uzbekistan.

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