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Kazakhstan Releases Uzbek Rights Activist

12 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The United Nations refugee agency today said that Kazakhstan has released an Uzbek rights activist who was arrested last week following an Uzbek deportation request.

Ron Redmond, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the UNHCR, said activist Lutfullo Shamsuddinov and six members of his family have been recognized as refugees by UNHCR since 24 June, one month after they fled Uzbekistan.

Redmond said Shamsuddinov will be temporarily relocated with his family to an unnamed European country pending permanent resettlement elsewhere.

Redmond says the UN recognizes the regional significance of Kazakhstan's choice to uphold international principles by releasing the man.

The arrest sparked widespread criticism and an appeal from the United States for Kazakhstan to not send Shamsuddinov home.

Uzbekistan seeks the return of asylum seekers who fled the country after 13 May violence in eastern Uzbekistan that left an unclear number of dead.

Rights groups have expressed concerns that returnees could face torture back in Uzbekistan.


See also:

UN Concerned About Arrest Of Uzbek Activist