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Uzbek refugees the day before their flight to Romania
Bucharest, 29 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A planeload of Uzbek refugees who fled to neighboring Kyrgyzstan following a government crackdown in May has arrived in Romania.
The 440 refugees were expected to be temporarily housed in Romania before being relocated to other countries. The departure of the Uzbek refugees from Kyrgyzstan was organized by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
A spokesperson for the UNHCR said 15 refugees -- detained at Uzbekistan's request -- remain in a detention center in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh. Kyrgyz authorities have said the 15 will not be freed until officials are sure they did not commit serious crimes in Uzbekistan.
The 455 refugees fled eastern Uzbekistan following an uprising and a military crackdown on 13 May. Uzbek authorities
say 187 people were killed in the violence in the city of Andijon, but rights advocates say the death toll is as high as 750.
(AFP, RFE/RL's Romania-Moldova Service)