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Kazakhstan Urged To Probe Extradition Of Uzbeks

(RFE/RL) August 23, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- A Russian human rights group is calling on Kazakh authorities to investigate the extradition of 56 Uzbek asylum seekers to Uzbekistan over the past two years.

Svetlana Ganushkina from Memorial told RFE/RL's Uzbek Service today that the deportees were mainly alleged sympathizers of Akramiya and other Islamic groups that Uzbek officials accuse of involvement in violence in the eastern city of Andijon.

Ganushkina said any extradition to Uzbekistan is against international law because Uzbek deportees are facing possible torture and death penalty if sent back to their home country:

"We think that nobody should be handed over [to Uzbekistan] under any circumstances," Ganushkina said. "And especially when there are obviously grounds to presume that there are political motives for Uzbekistan to demand the extradition of these people."

Ganushkina said Ukraine and Russia have also extradited Uzbek citizens to Uzbekistan in the past years.

Hundreds of Uzbeks fled the violence in Andijon in May 2005. Rights groups and eyewitnesses accuse Uzbek security forces of killing hundreds of unarmed protesters.

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