Arman Zhusanbai, spokesman for the Almaty Interior Ministry branch, told RFE/RL that the deportation drive started on 26 November and is due to end on 2 December. He said 546 foreign nationals have been detained in Almaty since the starting date and that 211 of them have been deported.
"Only those whose documents were found improper have been deported. Every case was studied meticulously. If a person is living and working in our country legally with proper documents and contracts he should not have any problems. But if the person is living illegally he must be deported. This has nothing to do with the [4 December presidential] elections," Zhusanbai said.
Zhusanbai said that many Tajiks, Uzbeks, and several Kyrgyz nationals were among those deported. One Turkish national and one Chinese citizen were also deported.
Kyrgyz rights advocates are disputing the facts of the deportations. Aziza Abdirasulova, a representative of the Kyrgyz human rights group Kylym Shamy, told RFE/RL that 215 Kyrgyz nationals who were legally working and living in Almaty were illegally deported on 26 November.
(RFE/RL's Kazakh Service)