Six weeks after Craig Murray started his job as British ambassador to Uzbekistan in 2002, a packet of photos landed on his desk. Inside were pictures a mother had taken of her son’s mutilated corpse. The young man, a political prisoner accused of having ties to radical Islam, had been tortured, beaten and immersed in boiling water.
“And,” Murray recently told an audience at the University of Chicago, “when that guy was boiled to death, you paid to heat the water.” He was referring to the $500 million in U.S. aid given to the Uzbeks in 2002.
Q. “Murder in Samarkand” refers to an actual event, right?
A. Yes. I was having a talk over dinner with this professor and dissident in Samarkand one night, and while we were having dinner, his grandson was abducted off the street, tortured and, at about 4 o’clock in the morning, dumped on the doorstep. I was subsequently told by the Russian ambassador that it had been done by the Uzbek authorities as a message for me to stop meeting with dissidents.
Q. Do you think transporting suspects to countries where other nationals can interrogate them using torture is still going on?
A. I have no reason at all to think the policy has changed. But [the CIA is] being much more careful about touching down in Europe with prisoners onboard, because of all the fuss in Europe and the investigations going on.
His book is available on Amazon.co.uk but not yet on Amazon.com.