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Missing Uzbek Refugees Found In Southern Kyrgyzstan

Two Uzbek refugees living in Kyrgyzstan who have been missing for the past week have been found in southern Kyrgyzstan, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Cholpon Jakupova, the head of the Adilet (Justice) human rights office in Bishkek, told RFE/RL that Sanjar Khudaiberganov and his 11-year-old son, Sarvarbek Erkinzoda, are in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh.

Jakupova said she received confirmation of that information from the UN refugee agency's representatives in Osh.

"[The UN officials] cannot provide any further details or information about their condition," Jakupova said.

Rights groups had feared that the two asylum seekers -- who went missing on July 30 -- may have been forcibly returned to Uzbekistan.

Khudaiberganov and his family had applied for refugee status at the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Bishkek in June 2008, but their application was still under review when they disappeared.

Dilobar Khudaiberganova, Sanjar's sister, told RFE/RL that strangers had recently begun following her brother in Bishkek.

Khudaiberganov fled to Kyrgyzstan in 2008 because he feared persecution and ill treatment in Uzbekistan and being harassed by police on several occasions.

His brother, Iskander, had been arrested and sentenced to death in 2002 for terrorism and subversive activity, among other charges.

Other members of the Khudaiberganov family were involved in human rights activities.

More than a dozen asylum seekers in Kyrgyzstan have been forcibly returned to Uzbekistan since 2005. Many others have vanished.