Authorities in Kazakhstan plan to extradite 30 Uzbek refugees charged with "extremism" back to Uzbekistan, Association Droit de l’Homme en Asie Centrale (Association for Human Rights in Central Asia), a human rights group founded by Uzbek exiles in Paris, reports in a press release today.
Human rights groups are concerned that the Uzbeks may face torture if returned to their homeland. The refugees have been in prison since their arrest June 9. The accusations against most of the prisoners are based on torture of the suspects, says the Association.
While 17 of the refugees arrested have certificates from the UNHCR that they are seeking asylum, Kazakhstan apparently does not recognize them. Under Kazakhstan's 2009 refugee law, a central commission should determine the asylum applicants' status, and is empowered to give them a one-year permission to remain in the country. The commission has already overruled decisions by the UNHCR in other cases. In the past, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that extradition to Uzbekistan would violate the right of refugees not to be subject to inhumane treatment and to receive a fair trial.
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