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Tashkent Gives Bishkek New Documents On Wanted Refugees

Uzbek refugees in Kyrgyzstan in June 22 July 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyz Prosecutor-General Azimbek Beknazarov said today that Uzbek law-enforcement agencies have given authorities in Bishkek new information concerning 29 Uzbek refugees detained in Kyrgyzstan.

Beknazarov said Kyrgyz officials are analyzing documents provided by Uzbekistan and the United Nations to decide whether to deport the refugees back to their home country.

"We will further investigate the problem of these [detained] refugees, because we have received documents [on them] both from the UNHCR [United Nations refugee agency] and Uzbekistan," Beknazarov said. "So we are analyzing the documents from both sides and working on our conclusion."

Uzbekistan accuses the 29 of criminal activities, and seeks their return.

Rights advocates say the Uzbek refugees could face torture if turned over to Uzbek authorities.

The 29 were among a wave of refugees who fled Uzbekistan in May after a government crackdown in the eastern city of Andijon.

Tashkent says some 180 people were killed in the crackdown, but rights-watchers say the number is far higher.

Related stories:
Uzbekistan: Refugees Want To Return Only If Regime Changes
Uzbekistan: Opposition Leaders Meet Outside Washington
Uzbekistan: Leader Of Andijon Protests Speaks To RFE/RL

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