Alexei Volosevich, a 38-year-old reporter for the online news agency Ferghana.ru said on Wednesday he was attacked by radical nationalists outside his apartment near his home in the capital Tashkent and blamed the secret services for the attack.
The Central Asian state’s SNB security service, successor to the Soviet KGB secret police, on Thursday called the charges absurd.
“In such cases, various motives are being considered, including hooliganism, and in particular we cannot exclude that he could stage this,” said SNB spokesman Olimzhon Turakulov.
“It’s known that he is striving to earn the halo of a martyr persecuted by the authorities and to emigrate to a Western country as a political refugee,” Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted Turakulov as saying.
Volosevich ridiculed the suggestion that he may have done it himself.
“It’s an attempt to shift responsibility from the culprits onto the one who suffered”
“It looks like in broad daylight I doused myself with four tins of paint, rolled about on the ground and then painted graffiti – all this in five minutes?” Volosevich said.
“It’s an attempt to shift responsibility from the culprits onto the one who suffered.”
Volosevich says his reporting on the trial of 15 men charged with plotting a rebellion in the town of Andijan in May could have been the authorities’ motive for the attack.
Graffiti painted on the wall near Volosevich’s apartment called him “a corrupt journalist and a Jew”.
The journalist was one of the few reporters to witness the crushing of an uprising by security forces in the eastern Uzbek province of Andijan earlier this year.
Two weeks ago, Volosevich wrote about a controversial trial of the alleged ringleaders of the Andijan uprising.
Volosevich extensively covered the uprising, in which rights groups say hundreds of civilians died when government troops brutally suppressed the demonstrations.
The government says about 190 people died and that Islamic hardliners instigated the uprising.