Uzbek refugees living in Kazakhstan’s biggest city, Almaty, say they had a rude awakening on the morning of June 9, when law-enforcement officers carried out a coordinated raid that resulted in the detention of dozens of men.
“We were asleep – and [when we woke up] they were standing right over us,” the wife of one detained man told EurasiaNet.org on June 10, the day after her husband was taken into custody, where she said he remains with over 20 others.
“We did not even have our headscarves on,” added a young woman in a brightly colored niqab. Like many of the refugees interviewed, the woman declined to identify herself for fear of reprisals. “We were all afraid.”
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Joanna Lillis is a freelance writer who specializes in Central Asia.