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Uzbeks Extradited From Kazakhstan Stand Trial For Extremism

Faizullakhon Akbarov was jailed for five years for membership of a banned group.
TASHKENT/ALMATY -- Twelve Uzbeks recently extradited from Kazakhstan have gone on trial in Uzbekistan on religious-extremism charges, RFE/RL's Uzbek and Kazakh services report.

The 12 are among a group of 29 Uzbek asylum seekers who were detained by Kazakh authorities in 2010 at Uzbekistan's request and extradited earlier this year despite protests by human rights groups.

The Uzbek human rights organization Ezgulik (Goodness) reported that on August 21 the Syrdariya Oblast court sentenced two of the 12 on trial.

The group said Akhmad Boltaev, 19, was jailed for 15 years after being found guilty of organizing a criminal group, distributing materials threatening public order, and planning to seize power.

Faizullakhon Akbarov was jailed for five years for membership of the banned group Jihadchilar (Jihadists).

According to Ezgulik, the other 10 recently went on trial in a Tashkent court on charges of belonging to the Jihadchilar group.

No Choice Of Lawyers

Uzbek human rights activist Sukhrobjan Ismailov corroborated the information provided by Ezgulik.

Ismailov told RFE/RL on August 22 that the extradited Uzbeks were not permitted to hire the lawyers of their choice. All the lawyers have been appointed by the authorities.

Ismailov added that relatives of the jailed Uzbek men were not allowed to see them in custody. "Only their lawyers were allowed to visit them," he said.

Ismailov also said the remaining 17 men were expected to go on trial soon in their native towns and villages.

The 29 Uzbeks and their wives insist that Uzbek authorities are persecuting them only because they are practicing Muslims.

In most cases, their wives and children are still in Kazakhstan.

Denis Dzhivaga of the Almaty-based Kazakh Bureau for Human Rights told RFE/RL that the Kazakh authorities were currently studying the cases of three more Uzbek asylum seekers who may face extradition to Uzbekistan.

Read more in Uzbek here, more in Kazakh here, and more in Russian here

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