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HRW Urges Kyrgyz Court Not To Extradite Uzbek Cleric

BISHKEK -- Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged Kyrgyzstan’s court of appeals not to extradite former imam Khabibullo Sulaimanov to Uzbekistan.

The Uzbek cleric was arrested in Kyrgyzstan in October at Uzbekistan's request.

In December, the Kyrgyz prosecutor-general ruled that Sulaimanov must be extradited to Uzbekistan, where he faces charges related to religious extremism.

Sulaimanov has appealed the prosecutor's ruling and applied for political asylum in Kyrgyzstan.

The HRW statement says Kyrgyzstan may not return Sulaimanov to Uzbekistan regardless of the charges, saying he most likely will face torture in Uzbek detention.

Hearings into Sulaimanov's appeal opened on February 5.

Immediately after the hearing started, the judge adjourned the case until February 12.