The X-Judy Awards: Entry #1

The first entry is in, and it’s going to be a tough one to beat.

Reader Karl “Made of Win + Awesome” Horberg nominates Uzbekistan’s killings of Muzafar Avazov and Husnidin Alimov, his summary is below. He has also named the award you are all competing for: the “X-Judy.”

Karl writes:

For fun, sun, and brutal, vicious torture no one really does it better than Uzbekistan. Way back in August 8, 2002 the bodies of Muzafar Avazov and Husnidin Alimov, formerly prisioners at Jaslyk prison, were returned to their families. Avazov lacked fingernails and and his arms and most of his lower body displayed burns. It turns out he got it pretty easy. Alimov had burns on 60-70% of his body, the type of burns which could only be caused by “immersion in boiling water.” (see Deaths in Custody in Uzbekistan, Human Rights Watch).

Yeah, that’s right. These guys got boiled to death. Which can lead us to only one possible conclusion–Uzbek prison guards are running out of ways to cause pain and suffering so quickly that now they’re stealing from Bugs Bunny cartoons.

But hey, maybe Avazov and Alimov had it coming. I mean come on, these guys were in prison. They were horrid, wretched criminals, probably plotting the overthrow of the Uzbekistan government and whatnot. What were they charged with? Practicing Islam and allegedly belonging to the Islamic political party Hizb ut-Tahrir. Islam Karimov, the President of Uzbekistan, has blamed Hizb ut-Tahrir for pretty much everything from hangnails to global warming. (In fact, Karimov has become so used to blaming Hizb ut-Tahrir for things that instead of saying their name, he just makes a scary face and says “Oogga-booga-booga!”).

But these accusations are suspicious on a number of accounts. First, everyone knows global warming is a penguin conspiracy to get some adorable movies made about them. Second, Hizb ut-Tahrir hasn’t really ever done anything. They’re an Islamic political party that isn’t particularly Islamic or political, they’re a supposed terrorist organization that hasn’t ever been linked to a violent act.

Now, for the sake of fairness, what do the Uzbeks say about all this? Was it just a big fingernail-pulling misunderstanding? But of course! The official government line is that the bruises and wounds on Avazov and Alimov aren’t a result of months and months of beatings, but of a minutes long tussle between prisoners. The scalding? Well, the prisoners were given hot water to wash up with and they spilled it on themselves (I’m not making this up. See the HRW report quoted above). Those crazy
terrorists!

Karl’s going to be tough to beat, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Send us your entries! The week lasts until Wednesday, but the days are ticking by…

It’s Extrajudicial Killings Week!

Welcome to Wronging Rights, the blog where the liquor is strong, the women are stronger, and the week always starts on Wednesday afternoon. And where this week is different from all other weeks, because it will focus on extrajudicial killings!

All extrajudicial killings are special, but some are more specialer than others. Any old brutally repressive regime can encourage its cops to moonlight as death squads or subcontract its dirty work to criminal militias. But every once in a while, some ambitious soul will see the true potential in the crumbling state structures around him, and think “hey, I could really do something with this!”

The entrepreneurial audacity that follows -the nighttime raids on houses, the murders, the artistic displays of dismembered corpses in well-trafficked areas, the curdling of public fear into tacit community support for violence, the inevitable “self defense” backlash from other groups, and the escalation as those steps are lathered, rinsed, and repeated- is really quite impressive. (Just ask the residents of a plucky little country called Iraq.)

But you wouldn’t know it from the media attention. Kids today! They only care about genocide. It doesn’t matter how many bodies you bury behind the police station: If no one’s trying to destroy an ethnic group in-whole-or-in-part, George Clooney ain’t stopping by.

In an effort to redress that sad state of affairs, we’ll be running through some of our favorite extrajudicial killings. We’ll focus on the really impressive ones that show an extra effort for style and verve, and achieve that certain je ne sais quoi that your average human rights violator can only dream about.

Obviously, this will be controversial. Some of you may find that your own best-loved extrajudicial killings have been overlooked. And that will make you feel sad inside. But only for a moment, before you seize the day and Do Something About it! Because, in an effort to avoid loyal-reader sadness, we’re soliciting submissions.

Send us the details of your favorite extrajudicial killing, along with a short description of why you think it’s especially awesome, and we’ll post the best ones along with our picks later this week. Oh, and we’ll totally give out prizes too!

Extra points will be awarded for transparent government cover-ups, scapegoating of feared minorities or outsiders, awkward tarring of innocent victims with the political epithet du jour (see “Communist,” “terrorist, “Communist terrorist”), and awkward-er tarring of investigators with the same. Scores will be doubled for cases in which a person working to end extrajudicial killings became a victim of one. We reserve the right to award further pointage for entries that are particularly well written, amusing, informative, thoughtful, or turquoise and pink. Points will be subtracted for factual errors, unfounded accusations, and implausible conspiracy theories. (Actual conspiracies, however, are fine.)

Entries should be emailed to wrongingrights (at) gmail.com. We will assume, unless told otherwise, that you are giving us permission to post your entry in full or in part. If you’d like to remain anonymous or have your entry posted under a pseudonym, make sure to mention that. And please provide links to background articles, reports, or other sources.

Depending on the quality of entries and our stock of the below items, prizes may include:

– Imaginary Lucky Charms marshmallows
– Actual boxes of Lucky Charms cereal
– Hugs
– Cyrano de Bergerac-style ghostwriting of one letter of your choice
– Hexes on your enemies
– Wronging Rights t-shirts
– Our undying admiration

Ready… Go!