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Kyrgyz Official Sees No 'Tragedy' In Uzbeks' Deportation


http://gdb.rferl.org/7B49C9F9-464A-48A2-8CDE-9B8FCEF4546C_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/7B49C9F9-464A-48A2-8CDE-9B8FCEF4546C_mw800_mh600.jpg Alikbek Jekshenkulov (file photo) (RFE/RL) BISHKEK, August 10, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyzstan's Foreign Minister Alikbek Jekshenkulov today defended a decision by the Prosecutor-General's Office to deport five Uzbek nationals wanted in their home country for their alleged participation in the May 2005 Andijon events.

Addressing reporters in Bishkek, Jekshenkulov said one "should not make a tragedy out of it."

He also said the decision, which was implemented on August 9, was legal.

"With regard with these [five] citizens, the Prosecutor-General's Office made a decision based on evidence provided by [the Uzbek] Prosecutor-General's Office," he said.

Four of the deportees had international refugee status, and one was considered an asylum seeker by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

They all had been arrested in Kyrgyzstan and jailed in the southern city of Osh, shortly after entering the country from Uzbekistan.

The UNHCR said on August 9 it was "shocked" by Kyrgyzstan's decision to hand them over to Uzbekistan.

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Andijon Refugees

Uzbek refugees in Kyrgyzstan on May 19, 2005 (epa)

NO PLACE TO GO: More than 400 Uzbeks who fled in panic in the hours and days after troops opened fire on demonstrators in Andijon one year ago have been granted political asylum outside Central Asia. In limbo for weeks in Kyrgyzstan as they and the world tried to come to grips with the bloody events of May 12 and 13, they feared for their lives and the lives of family members as the official crackdown continued.... (more)


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THE COMPLETE STORY: A dedicated webpage bringing together all of RFE/RL's coverage of the events in Andijon, Uzbekistan, in May 2005 and their continuing repercussions.


CHRONOLOGY

For an annotated timeline of the Andijon events and their repercussions, click here.

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