The Russian Prosecutor-General's Office on August 15 said it had decided to suspend their deportation to Uzbekistan pending a European Court of Human Rights' decision on their case.
In a statement posted on the OSCE website, Chairman in Office and Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht encouraged Russia to continue working with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) "to find a lasting solution" for the Ivanovo detainees.
De Gucht also praised Kazakhstan for handing over an Uzbek refugee to the UNHCR on August 15. Kazakhstan's Kazinform news agency today identified the man as Gabdurafih Temirboev.
Kyrgyzstan recently handed over five Andijon suspects to Uzbek authorities, sparking fierce criticism from rights groups and multilateral organizations who claimed the move violated Kyrgyzstan's international commitments.
President Karimov (left) with Russian President Putin in July 2005 (epa)
BETWEEN EAST AND WEST: One of the ramifications of the May 2005 bloodshed in Andijon has been a souring of relations between Tashkent and the West, accompanied by a raproachment between Uzbekistan and Russia. Following sharp U.S. and European criticism of the Andijon crackdown, Uzbekistan kicked the United States out of the Karshi-Khanabad air base and began actively courting Moscow.
"Today, we are reaching an unprecedented level in our relationship," Uzbek President Islam Karimov said during a November 2005 summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, at which the leaders signed a strategic-partnership agreement. "I understand and we all understand in Uzbekistan that it is unprecedented that Russia signs such a partnership agreement with Uzbekistan."
For an annotated timeline of the Andijon events and their repercussions, click here.