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Ethnic Karachais have marked the 62nd anniversary of their return to their North Caucasus homeland after their mass deportation to Central Asia by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin during World War II.

May 3 is marked as the Day of Revival of the Turkic-speaking Karachai People.

Karachai-Cherkesia's leader, Rashid Temrezov, regional government head Aslan Ozov, and parliament speaker Aleksandr Ivanov issued a joint statement on May 3, congratulating Karachais on the occasion and praising their elderlies for preserving traditions, language, and culture despite "14 years of hunger, deprivations, and injustice."

About 2,000 people marched holding national flags and singing Karachai folk songs in downtown Karachayevsk. Concerts, meetings, and sports events were held across the region on May 3.

Karachayevsk
Karachayevsk



Sixty-two years ago on May 3, the first trains transporting Karachai arrived from Central Asia to the North Caucasus region after the Kremlin allowed their return to their homeland in 1957.

Karachais are a numerically small, predominantly Muslim people.

They were the first ethnic group in the North Caucasus deported by the Soviet regime in the 1940s.

Between November 2-5, 1943, some 70,000 Karachais were deported in cattle train cars to Central Asia by Moscow, which accused them of collaborating with Nazi Germany.

According to unofficial estimates, about one-quarter of those deported perished during the journey.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet (file photo)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has condemned the recent execution of two 17-year-old boys in Iran as "deplorable."

Mehdi Sohrabifar and Amin Sedaghat were executed on April 25 at the Adelabad prison in Shiraz, the capital of the southern Fars Province. The two had been arrested at age 15 and convicted on multiple rape charges after what international rights groups said was an unfair trial.

"I am appalled," Bachelet said in a statement on May 3, urging Tehran to immediately halt all executions of people accused of committing crimes while children.

"The prohibition of executions of child offenders is absolute under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and under the Convention on the Rights of the Child," she said.

Iran is party to both treaties.

Bachelet said the cases of Sohrabifar and Sedaghat were particularly deplorable since "both boys were reportedly subjected to ill-treatment and a flawed legal process."

Amnesty International has recorded 97 executions of people under the age of 18 in Iran between 1990 and 2018.

With reporting by AFP

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