European Union governments have banned arms sales to Uzbekistan and imposed a one-year visa ban on 12 senior Uzbek officials they hold responsible for the deaths of up to 500 people in May, the European Council was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The list of officials banned from entering the EU includes Interior Minister Zakirdzhon Almatov, Defence Minister Kadyr Gulyamov and the head of the National Security Service, Rustam Inoyatov.

The European Council, the EU decision-making body grouping member governments, said the visa ban was “aimed at those individuals who are directly responsible for the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force during May Andijan riots and for the obstruction of an independent inquiry”.

Meanwhile, Uzbek website UzLand.Info reported that the first persona non grata on the EU list, Zakirdzhon Almatov, is currently undergoing a course of medical treatment in Germany. The information was confirmed by the German Foreign Ministry and Hanover International Neuro-Surgical Institute, where the minister is being treated for spine cancer.

According to the site, initially the German embassy refused to issue a visa for him, but after Tashkent threatened to close down a German military base Termez near Afghani border, Berlin had to let Almatov enter the country.

The EU arms embargo covers arms, military equipment and “other equipment that might be used for internal repression”.

The authorities said the troops had killed 187 people in Andijan, mainly “foreign-paid terrorists”, for trying to overthrow the constitutional order. Witnesses said troops fired on a crowd of men, women and children.

On Nov. 14 Uzbekistan’s highest court found 15 men guilty of an Islamist terrorist plot in Andijan, and sentenced them to between 14 and 20 years in prison after what one human rights campaigner at the court called a show trial.

The EU said the measures would be in place for a year and would be reviewed with regard to the conduct and outcome of the trials, which ended on Monday.

“The Council decided to adopt these measures in the light of the excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by the Uzbek security forces during the Andijan events and following the refusal of Uzbek authorities to allow an independent international inquiry,” the statement said.

While Uzbek President Islam Karimov has been widely criticized in the West over Andijan, on Monday he signed an agreement in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, pledging to help each other in case of a threat to security.