Toggle navigation menu.
Helsinki Default Banner

Helsinki Commissioners Condemn Andijan Trial Verdicts in Uzbekistan

WASHINGTON – Commissioners of the U.S. Helsinki Commission strongly condemned the outcome of the trial of 15 men in Uzbekistan for the outbreak of unrest in the city of Andijan. The verdicts, which were announced on November 14th, found the men guilty of trying to oust the Uzbek Government and set up an Islamic state.

“The Uzbek Government, after blocking international investigation of the bloody events in Andijan, set up a kangaroo court and expects the world to accept the verdict,” said Commission Chairman Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS). “It is especially telling that official Uzbek sources have accused the United States of involvement in terrorism. Regrettably, the Uzbek Government seems determined to isolate itself from the Western world.”

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, is a U.S. Government agency that monitors progress in the implementation of the provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Accords. The Commission consists of nine members from the United States Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.

“The convictions in the Andijan trial were based on an unjust trial that included evidence that couldn’t come close to passing the credibility smell test,” added Commission Co-Chairman Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ). “The trials were a sham and in complete violation of Uzbekistan’s obligations under the Helsinki Process. As a first step, Uzbekistan needs to allow a credible international investigation into what happened at Andijan. This situation proves the need for passage of my Central Asia Democracy and Human Rights Act.”

On May 12, an unidentified group of armed men broke open a jail to free a group of 23 local businessmen who had been facing trial on charges of extremism, as well as seized the city hall and other government facilities in the eastern Uzbek town of Andijan. Human rights groups and the United Nations say that Uzbek security forces fired upon the anti-government demonstrators, leaving hundreds of people dead. The Uzbek Government has claimed that Islamic radicals, trained in neighboring Kyrgyzstan, organized the incident in Andijan.

“The human rights situation in Uzbekistan continues to deteriorate, and the convictions in the Andijan trial simply highlight a desperate and unacceptable situation,” said Commission Ranking Member Rep. Ben Cardin (D-MD). “The international community has to take a more aggressive stand on what is happening in Uzbekistan and pressure the government to undertake a serious democratization effort.”

The fifteen men found guilty in the case have been sentenced to anywhere between 14 and 20 years in prison. Uzbekistan’s history of torturing persons in custody, the numerous irregularities in the trial process, and the almost exclusive reliance on confessions for obtaining convictions in this case have led many human rights organizations to express the concern that testimony was obtained under duress.

The Helsinki Commission held a hearing on Uzbekistan on June 29th at which eye-witnesses to the Andijan crisis provided testimony.

Media contact

Filter Topics Open Close

Hamas’ Hostages, Putin’s Prisoners, and Freeing Inte...

Oct 25, 2023

The practice of seizing hostages and political prisoners, as well as actively terrorizing civilians is a constant displayed by Hamas in Israel and Russia’s war against Ukraine. To highlight issues related to the United States’ strategy to free hostages and political prisoners, last year the Commission’s Ranking Member Congressman Steve Cohen and Chairman Joe Wilson […]


Helsinki Commission Advances Human Rights, Demands f...

Oct 19, 2023

By Shannon Simrell, Senior Policy Advisor Between October 2-13, 11 Helsinki Commission staff joined approximately 1,400 representatives of OSCE participating States (pS) and civil society representatives in Warsaw, Poland in an annual review of the human rights records of OSCE States. U.S. leadership highlighted demands for accountability from Russia and Belarus for their human rights […]


Vladimir Kara-Murza: Putin’s Personal Prisoner

Sep 20, 2023

Stream here: HEARING: Vladimir Kara-Murza: Putin’s Personal Prisoner – YouTube Vladimir Kara-Murza, a father, husband, and a freedom fighter, has been in detention for over five hundred days and is currently being transferred to a prison in Siberia. As he is being moved, his family has lost all contact with him and are faced with worry […]

Press Releases

Helsinki Commission Leadership Celebrate Pardon of N...

Jun 23, 2023

Washington—Today, the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, Representative Joe Wilson (SC-02) and Ranking Member Steve Cohen (TN-09), applauded Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili’s decision to issue a presidential pardon for journalist Nikoloz “Nika” Gvaramia. Mr. Gvaramia, an outspoken media figure and […]

Press Releases


Apr 28, 2023

WASHINGTON— The leadership of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, Chairman Representative Joe Wilson (SC-02), Co-Chairman Senator Ben Cardin (MD), and Ranking Members Representative Steve Cohen (TN-09) and Senator Roger Wicker (MS) sent a letter to Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili urging her to intervene to break […]

Press Releases

Congressmen Cohen and Wilson Introduce Resolution Re...

Oct 28, 2022

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Co-Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, and the Commission’s Ranking Member, Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02), today introduced a resolution recognizing October 30 as International Day of Political Prisoners. Congressman Cohen was recently named the Special Representative on Political Prisoners […]


My “Hell” in Russian Captivity

Sep 15, 2022

Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine include the brutal and unlawful detention of thousands of Ukrainians. At this hearing, Yuliia “Taira” Paievska, a well-known Ukrainian volunteer medic who was detained in Mariupol in March and held by the Russians for three months, testified about her capture, the deplorable conditions of her captivity, the plight of those […]

Press Releases

Helsinki Commission Slams Shutdown of Novaya Gazeta

Sep 08, 2022

WASHINGTON—Helsinki Commission Chairman Sen. Ben Cardin (MD), Co-Chairman Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09), Ranking Member Sen. Roger Wicker (MS), and Ranking Member Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-02) today condemned the shutdown of Novaya Gazeta in Russia, following the decision of a Moscow court to strip the outlet of its print media registration. They issued the following joint […]

Press Releases

Ukrainian Medic to Testify on “Hell” in Russian Capt...

Sep 07, 2022

WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today announced the following hearing: MY “HELL” IN RUSSIAN CAPTIVITY Taira Paievska on Russia’s War in Ukraine Thursday, September 15, 2022 9:00 a.m. Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 106 Watch live: Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine include the brutal and […]

Press Releases

Co-Chairman Cohen Calls for the Release of Political...

Aug 09, 2022

Washington – On the second anniversary of the sham presidential election in Belarus, the Helsinki Commission Co-Chairman and OSCE PA Special Representative on Political Prisoners Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09) issued the following statement: “Two years ago today, Belarus’s autocrat Aleksander Lukashenko put up a show of an election that he had hoped would legitimize his […]

Press Releases


Jul 21, 2022

WASHINGTON—Margareta Cederfelt, President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA), has appointed Helsinki Commission Co-Chairman Rep. Steve Cohen (TN-09) as the first-ever OSCE PA Special Representative on Political Prisoners. “I welcome the chance to serve as the voice of political prisoners across the OSCE region,” said Co-Chairman Cohen. “Every day, we witness more political arrests of […]



Jun 30, 2022