Indymedia UK has been issued with a takedown notice [10th of September & 21st of September] from lawyers acting for Alisher Usmanov. The notice served to Indymedia charged Indymedia with publishing allegedly libellous accusations about Usmanov, one of the richest men in Russia, recently linked to a possible hostile takeover of Arsenal FC.
The author of the posting, Craig Murray, is a former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan and claims to have inside knowledge of the businessman’s allegedly illegal dealings. Murray was sacked by the UK government for exposing the Uzbek government’s use of torture to attain ‘intelligence’ information, and for exposing and criticising UK-US support for a vicious dictator in pursuit of resources.
Murray’s allegations are that Usmanov “is a criminal”, “a gangster and racketeer”. Allegations of criminality seem partly to have been inferred from his connections to “Uzbek mafia boss and major international heroin overlord Gafur Rakimov”. However, Murray also suggested that Usmanov has a criminal past, having been charged with “various offences” in the Soviet Union.
Usmanov’s lawyers minded Murray that Usmanov was pardoned, and all charges against him were removed from police records. However, in response to what seems an inaccurate statement from Usmanov’s lawyers, Murray alleged that "Usmanov is a criminal. He was in no sense a political prisoner, but a gangster and racketeer who rightly did six years in jail. The lawyers cunningly evoke 'Gorbachev', a name respected in the West, to make us think that justice prevailed. That is completely untrue". Furthermore, Murray implies that the pardon was spurious because the real source was the Dictator of Uzbekistan, Islom Karimov.
Karimov himself is an unsavoury character. On completing his investigation into allegations of torture in Karimov’s Uzbekistan, the United Nations Special Rapporteur noted that the use of torture was ‘pervasive and persistent’. He also reported that he had ‘no doubt that the system of torture is condoned, if not encouraged, at the level of the heads of the places of detention where it takes place or of the chief investigators’
Though evidence to support Murray’s allegations has not yet been presented directly to Indymedia UK (but has been collected in his book "Murder in Samarkand"), the Daily Mail informs us that, ‘[r]eports years ago claimed Britain's National Criminal Intelligence Service was monitoring him for alleged links — never proven — to suspected mafia figures.' More recently, the allegations have been repeated by Tom Wise MEP in the European Parliament
Indymedia UK is now waiting for Usmanov’s lawyers to confirm exactly what information posted on the web site is defamatory, and it looks like they have resolved to remove any defamatory material. Indymedia, as with other small non-commercial media groups, has very limited options available to them due to the UK’s archaic and elitist libel laws.
Indymedia hopes, however, to avoid the forms of complete censorship that other web hosts have pursued.
For further information on this case, see Bloggerheads | Chicken Yoghurt | Moscow Times.
For further information on Murray’s research on UK-US (at least tacit) support for terrorism in Uzbekistan, see
IMC UK legal
October 9, 2007
Back and Unbowed
It is good to be blogging again. Many thanks to everyone for your tremendous support while I was down, and especially all those bloggers who protested against this censorship, achieved just by the layout of cah, with nothing being tested in court. I have still had no contact at any time from Usmanov or the shysters of Schillings.
We are back on craigmurray.org.uk. We hope that craigmurray.co.uk will be back too very soon. I have a plan for dealing with Usmanov and getting this matter into court, but am holding fire for a couple of days until we get the co.uk address back, where most people look for me. Meanwhile anyone remember this?