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EU, OSCE Excoriate Kyrgyzstan Over 'Andijon' Extraditions

OSCE Chairman-in-Office and Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht (file photo) (epa) August 10, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Senior officials from the European Union and the OSCE have issued strong statements decrying the handover by Kyrgyzstan of five Uzbek nationals -- including four UN refugees and one asylum seeker -- to Uzbek authorities to face trial for alleged involvement in the May 2005 Andijon unrest.

Rights groups have warned that the suspects could face torture or death at the hands of authorities in Uzbekistan.

The EU Presidency, currently held by Finland, expressed "deep regret" over the extraditions. It said in a statement that the presidency "regards this refoulement as an extremely serious violation of the 1951 Refugee Convention under which no refugees should be forcibly returned to their country of origin."

The EU Presidency also noted that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) "had already secured resettlement places in different countries for the four refugees."

It went on to urge Uzbek officials to "fully respect all human rights of the extradited refugees and the asylum seeker."

Many Critics

OSCE Chairman in Office Karel De Gucht, who is also Belgium's foreign minister, said in a statement today that he was seriously concerned by "Kyrgyzstan's failure to live up to its international obligations."

Kyrgyzstan deported the five men, who were being held at a prison in the southern city of Osh, on August 9.

The UNHCR has criticized the deportation order, also calling it a violation of the 1951 convention, to which Kyrgyzstan is a signatory.

All five had sought shelter in Kyrgyzstan following the bloody security crackdown in Andijon. Four were arrested in June 2005, and one in September.

Kyrgyz Defense

Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Alikbek Jekshenkulov today defended the prosecutors' decision, saying one "should not make a tragedy out of it."

Jekshenkulov also said the decision, which was implemented on August 9, was legal.

More Suspects In Russia

De Gucht also urged Russia not to implement a decision to deport 12 Uzbek nationals and one Kyrgyz citizen to Uzbekistan.

All 13 are awaiting extradition in Russia's central city of Ivanovo. Uzbek authorities have accused them of helping to fund and organize the Andijon uprising.

Aftermath Of Andijon

Aftermath Of Andijon

A dedicated webpage bringing together all of RFE/RL's coverage of the events in Andijon, Uzbekistan, in May 2005 and their continuing repercussions.


An annotated timeline of the Andijon events and their repercussions.