This article originally appeared in the International Herald Tribune on 16 March 2004.
"I didn't want to leave my home," a friend e-mailed me a few weeks ago, "but Uzbekistan doesn't give me a choice."
After the police got rough and threatened to arrest him, he decided it would be best to leave the country right away. Given that torture by the law enforcement agencies in Uzbekistan is "systematic" - to borrow a word from the United Nations special rapporteur on torture, Theo van Boven - my friend, a journalist who had tried to investigate police abuses for an international news agency, was wise to get out while he could.
Kind treatment, however, has been the approach of the international community toward the Uzbek regime.