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Kazakhstan Detains Uzbek Wanted For Religious Extremism

Uzbek national Sobirjon Nosirov faces terrorism charges if he is extradited home from Kazakhstan.
ORAL, Kazakhstan -- Rights activists say another Uzbek citizen wanted by Tashkent on religious-extremism charges has been detained in Kazakhstan and faces possible extradition, RFE/RL's Kazakh and Uzbek Services report.

The news comes after 12 Uzbeks recently extradited from Kazakhstan went on trial in their home country on similar charges in recent days, with two sentenced to heavy jail terms.

Uzbek and Kazakh rights activists told RFE/RL that Sobirjon Nosirov, 39, was arrested in the western Kazakh city of Oral in late July after he arrived from Russia.

Oral-based human rights activist Pavel Kochetkov said that Uzbek authorities wanted Nosirov for "terrorism, religious extremism, anticonstitutional activities, and the preparation and distribution of materials calling for mass unrest and disorder."

Uzbek rights defender Omonullo Maksudov said Nosirov began a hunger strike on August 20 to protest his arrest. Maksudov also said the detention center staff were not allowing Nosirov's relatives and lawyers to meet him.

Nosirov "denies all the accusations. If he is extradited to Uzbekistan, he will face torture and an unfair trial," Maksudov said.

Zhanbolat Idrisov, who is deputy head of detention center No. 4 in Oral, confirmed to RFE/RL that Nosirov was being held there, but denied he was on hunger strike.

In June, Kazakhstan extradited 29 Uzbek citizens to Uzbekistan at the Uzbek authorities' request. Two of them were sentenced on August 21 in Syrdariya province to 15 and five years in jail for religious extremism. Ten more are on trial in Tashkent on charges of membership of a banned religious group.

Human rights activists have appealed to the Kazakh authorities not to extradite Uzbek asylum seekers to Uzbekistan as they are likely to face unfair trials and torture in Uzbek custody.

Kazakhstan extradited four other Uzbek asylum seekers to Uzbekistan last year.

Read more in Kazakh here and more in Uzbek here

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