Alikbek Jekshenkulov (file photo) (RFE/RL)
BISHKEK, August 10, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyzstan's Foreign Minister Alikbek Jekshenkulov today defended a decision by the Prosecutor-General's Office to deport five Uzbek nationals wanted in their home country for their alleged participation in the May 2005 Andijon events.
Addressing reporters in Bishkek, Jekshenkulov said one "should not make a tragedy out of it."
He also said the decision, which was implemented on August 9, was legal.
"With regard with these [five] citizens, the Prosecutor-General's Office made a decision based on evidence provided by [the Uzbek] Prosecutor-General's Office," he said.
Four of the deportees had international refugee status, and one was considered an asylum seeker by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
They all had been arrested in Kyrgyzstan and jailed in the southern city of Osh, shortly after entering the country from Uzbekistan.
The UNHCR said on August 9 it was "shocked" by Kyrgyzstan's decision to hand them over to Uzbekistan.
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