TASHKENT — The trial of 17 people charged with negligence, abuse of office, and other offenses in a deadly dam burst in Uzbekistan last year has resumed in Tashkent.
The Tashkent City Court on January 5 resumed the trial that is being held behind closed doors as some materials of the case are classified.
The 17 defendants, including energy officials, top officials of the state railways company, and leaders of construction companies that were involved in the construction of the dam, went on trial on December 21, 2020. Other charges include document forgery, embezzlement, and the violation of water distribution and safety regulations.
Relatives of some of the defendants told RFE/RL that many of those on trial are “scapegoats” while more senior officials responsible for the tragedy have avoided justice.
The dam of the Sardoba Reservoir in the eastern Uzbek region of Sirdaryo burst early on May 1, 2020, resulting in the death of six people and forcing at least 70,000 people out of their homes.
Over 600 homes in neighboring Kazakhstan have also been flooded.
The Sardoba Reservoir was completed in 2017 after seven years of construction work.
Kazakh officials said at the time the floods caused crop damage worth more than $400,000 — mostly to cotton, which is grown in the southern Turkistan region.