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Czech Republic Deports Kazakh Asylum Seeker


Margulan Mukhambetov

Margulan Mukhambetov

PRAGUE/ALMATY -- Czech authorities deported a Kazakh asylum seeker on October 10, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Czech officials brought handcuffed Margulan Mukhambetov, 26, to Almaty by plane and handed him over to Kazakh border guards.

It is not known if he was detained by Kazakh authorities.

Mukhambetov is one of some 200 Kazakhs who have been trying to get asylum in the Czech Republic since 2006. They say they are followers of the "pure faith" branch of Islam, also known as Salafism.

The group in the Czech Republic says its members would face persecution if they are returned to Kazakhstan.

Czech authorities are hesitant to give them refugee status, saying that Kazakhstan is going to chair the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) soon and, as such, the country would not persecute its citizens for their religious views.

Czech police tried to deport Mukhambetov several days earlier but ended their attempt when he yelled while on the plane, asking other passengers to help him.

Khamid Nurgaliev, one of the leaders of the Kazakh asylum seekers in the Czech Republic, told RFE/RL that Czech authorities are likely to also deport other Kazakh Salafis seeking asylum.

Nadezhda Atayeva, president of the Paris-based Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, told RFE/RL that she was shocked to learn about Mukhambetov's deportation.

She said her organization will hold its own investigation regarding Mukhambetov's deportation.
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