Specialists in Uzbekistan say that it is impossible for a graduate with a diploma of “chemist-biologist” to work as forensic pathologist and that the country’s universities do not have a single department of chemistry and biology.
As a representative of the Open Society Foundation (OSF) Alisher Ilkhamov, based in London, has confirmed the authenticity of the story of the 40-year-old Umidjon Abdunazarov, born in Kokand.
In discussion on Facebook about a journalistic investigation titled “Nadejda Atayeva who has discredited Uzbekistan’s human rights movement”, published by Centre-1 on 25 August, Ilkhamov wrote: “I can confirm that Nadejda had shown me his diploma of chemist-biologist. She can’t publish it because it will be considered as revealing personal data of a refugee. However, the website has broken this principle and named him. This, possibly, is a violation of law.”
She falsified Andijan evidence
Centre-1’s investigation shows that France-based Nadejda Atayeva, president of the Human Rights in Central Asia association, has falsified evidence of the Andijan massacre of 13 May 2005, presenting a teacher of French from Kokand Umidjon Abdunazarov as an eyewitness and victim despite him having nothing to do with the events.
In May 2010 in a European parliament building in Brussels Atayeva screened a film featuring a “forensic pathologist” and in April 2011 she published a report based on his testimonies entitled “Our torturers know that they won’t face justice…”
The reader sees a story of a graduate from a medical university who went to Andijan to mark his university mate’s birthday and was arrested after the events and faced torture. In September 2005 he was released and sent to work first as assistant then as forensic pathologist in the morgue of the Andijan Region hospital. There he worked until February 2006 and managed to examine 500 bodies, including 300 with traces of violence, including gunshot wounds.
Dilorom Iskhakova, an activist from Tashkent who cooperated with Atayeva, was quoted as saying in the article that at the moment of the publication of the report Atayeva knew at least for six months that the Kokand source was not a doctor but a teacher and never faced arrest or persecution in Uzbekistan.
Since the publication of the report France-based Atayeva has kept silent. She did not answer questions ahead of the publication of the article and didn’t satisfy Centre-1’s request to conduct an interview and to publicly present the “forensic pathologist” if he really existed.
For some reason Alisher Ilkhamov assumed a role of public speaker. But hardly joining the discussion he ended up in a difficult situation. His claims of a diploma of “chemist-biologist” contradicts Atayeva’s report.
The report clearly states that the source has a “medical education”.
Then the “worker of the Andijan morgue” says in testimonies that he ended up in Andijan in the run-up of the massacre because he went there to mark his friend’s birthday.
“That day with my classmates from the medical institute we were going to gather at our friend’s place in Andijan. Out of us, 11 friends, five lived in this town..,” said Atayeva’s source.
This statement may suggest that he graduated from a medical institute in Uzbekistan: it is hardly likely that such a big group of friends could study in one university abroad.
However, a simple analysis of all medical universities in the country listed on the website of the higher and vocational education ministry leads to conclusion that none of them has a chemistry and biology department.
There are only six cities in Uzbekistan where one can obtain medical education – Andijan, Bukhara, Samarkand, Tashkent, Nukus and Urgench, with the latter two having branches of the Tashkent Medical Academy.
The country’s medical higher educational establishments offer studies in the following departments: therapeutic, medical and pedagogical, medical preventive (sanitary and hygiene), dentistry and higher nursery education. None of them issues a diploma of “chemist-biologist”.
Did she hide his university?
Possibly, Ilkhamov will later claim that Atayeva tried to conceal the personality of her source as much as possible for his security and wrote that he graduated from a medical university.
Then let us take Ilkhamov’s claim about his “chemical-biological education” for truth as he has seen the diploma. However, the searches for such department across Uzbekistan have produced no result.
The Mirzo Ulugbek National University of Uzbekistan (formerly Tashkent State University) in Tashkent told us that it has chemistry and biology departments but they are separate. The university’s secretary specified whether we didn’t confuse it with the geology and geography department.
Further research showed that a diploma of chemist or biology could be obtained only in the capital because in other universities in other cities there are no biology or chemistry departments.
There is also the Chemical-Technological Institute in Tashkent.
Education for forensic pathologists
A specialist from the National Forensic Pathology Centre in Tashkent has told Centre-1 that he and his colleagues graduated from a medical university and then underwent further clinical studies.
He said that it was impossible for a person with a “chemical-biological” education to work as forensic pathologist. He assumed that such person could work as a cleaner in the morgue or in a histology department where tests are conducted.
He also showed surprised that authorities would force anyone to work in the morgue as forensic pathologist. He said he had never heard of such case and this was very unlikely.
He said all cases involving traces of violence, especially gunshot wounds, should be administered by forensic scientists. They receive similar education as forensic pathologists but receive different further training.
“What? Chemistry-biology department?”
The former teacher at the Tashkent Medical Academy’s department of forensic medicine told Centre-1 that forensic pathologists need medical education, preferably from a therapeutic department of a medical university.
Someone with dentistry or sanitary-hygienic education should undergo a year-long specialised training course.
Forensic scientists who examine bodies with violent death should also graduate from a medical university, complete year-long further studies and sit an exam.
He said it was forensic scientists who examined bodies of gunned-down Andijan residents.
The former professor described it as nonsense that someone could be forced to work in the morgue, especially prisoners.
He also doubted that there were chemistry and biology departments at Uzbek universities.
“There are medical universities and separate biology departments and chemistry departments but I have never heard of a chemistry-biology department or met its graduates in forensic pathology centres,” he said.
What kind of diploma did Alisher Ilkhamov see? Perhaps it would be clear if he could show it…
However, Ilkhamov, like Atayeva, did not answer questions and requests, including one to show Abdunazarov’s diploma of “chemist-biologist”.
Galima Bukharbaeva, Editor-in-Chief of Centre-1