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UN Charges Uzbekistan With Post-Andijon Torture

Uzbek troops in Andijon after the unrest last month Bishkek, 23 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- The UN's special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak, accused Uzbekistan today of torture in the aftermath of violent outbreaks in the eastern city of Andijon in May.

Nowak's charges came as Human Rights Watch denounced Kyrgyzstan for saying it will deport to Uzbekistan 29 Uzbek asylum seekers with criminal records. Human Rights Watch, which has been monitoring the situation from an asylum seekers' camp in Kyrgyzstan, said the Uzbeks face a credible risk of torture and are entitled to asylum under international law.

In Tashkent, Uzbek First Deputy Prosecutor Anvar Nabiev said today that three Islamic groups -- the Islamic Movement of Turkestan, Hizb-ut Tahrir, and Akrimiya -- are working together and are responsible for setting off the Andijon unrest. He said their aim was to topple the Uzbek government.

Sadyk Sherniyaz, the deputy of Kyrgyz Ombudsman Tursunbai Bakir-Uulu, told RFE/RL in Bishkek today that all refugee cases should be considered according to international conventions.

"All the cases should be considered within the framework of international conventions," he said. "For instance, returning many refugees in a short period of time would be hasty. It would be in the interests of Kyrgyzstan if there would be a thorough investigation [of the cases] with the participation of the representatives of the international community, the Kyrgyz Ombudsman Office, and other human rights bodies."

How many people died in the Andijon violence remains undetermined. The Uzbek government says over 170 people were killed. Rights groups have estimated the death toll to be as high as 700.

(RFE/RL Uzbek Service, AP)

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