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Three Countries Offer Asylum To 15 Uzbek Refugees --> Uzbek forces in Andijon in May 8 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyzstan says that three European countries have confirmed their willingness to grant asylum to 15 Uzbek refugees who are currently in a Kyrgyz detention facility, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported.

Taalai Kydyrov, Kyrgyzstan's Deputy Foreign Minister, today told RFE/RL in Bishkek that Finland, Sweden, and the Netherlands have offered to take the refugees.

The United Nations refugee agency has granted refugee status to 11 of the 15. The status of the remaining four is still under review.

The 15 were part of a wave of hundreds of people who fled Uzbekistan in May after an uprising and a military crackdown in the eastern Uzbek city of Andijon. (For complete coverage of the Andijon violence and its aftermath, see "Unrest In Uzbekistan.")

More than 400 of the refugees have already received temporary asylum in Romania.

Kyrgyzstan detained the 15 at the request of Uzbekistan. Uzbek authorities want the 15 returned, accusing them of criminal activities.

The United Nations and international rights groups have expressed concern that Uzbek refugees could face torture if handed over to Uzbek authorities.


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