UA: 129/10 Index: EUR 57/002/2010 Kazakhstan Date: 11 June 2010
UZBEKISTANIS AT RISK OF FORCIBLE RETURN
A group of 24 Uzbekistani refugees and asylum-seekers have been detained on 9 June and are at
imminent risk of forcible return from Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan, where they would be at risk of
torture or other ill-treatment.
The 24 refugees and asylum-seekers, all men, fled due to fear of persecution for their affiliation to religious groups
banned in Uzbekistan. They have been arrested by security forces on 9 June during early morning raids on their
homes in the southern city of Almaty. The Almaty city prosecutor’s office told the wives of the detainees on 10 June
that they face extradition to Uzbekistan on charges of membership of illegal religious or extremist organizations and
charges of attempting to overthrow the state. The families say that the men are pious Muslims who worship outside
state-approved mosques in Uzbekistan, but deny that they have been involved in violent attempts to overthrow the
Eleven of the men were due to have their asylum applications examined on 10 June by a newly established State
Committee responsible for assessing asylum applications. The rest had been given refugee status by the Office of
the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Almaty and were awaiting resettlement to a safe third country.
At least 45 men and one woman, all refugees and asylum-seekers from Uzbekistan, were detained in the raid.
Twenty-one were released later the same day following lengthy interrogations by migration police. Those released
and several of the relatives of those still in custody told human rights defenders and journalists that security forces
had threatened them and their families during the raids and accused them of being terrorists. They also said that
security forces beat and kicked some of the men, and confiscated mobile phones, computers, books and other
personal items. Security forces reportedly failed to produce search warrants and forced their way into the homes.
Families and lawyers have not been able to gain access to the 24 detained men and the authorities have not
confirmed their whereabouts.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in English, Russian or your own language:
urging Kazkahstani authorities not to forcibly return refugees and asylum-seekers to Uzbekistan, as they are likely
to face torture and other serious human rights violations if returned;
calling on Kazakhstani authorities to fulfil their obligations under international law, including the 1951
Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the Convention against Torture, prohibiting the return of anyone
to a country where they would be at risk of torture or other serious human rights violations;
urging the authorities to release detained refugees unless they are promptly charged with a recognizably
criminal offence and provide asylum seekers with access to a fair asylum procedure.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 23 JULY 2010 TO:
Minister of Internal Affairs
Ministery of Internal Affairs
ul. Manasa, 4
Fax: +7 7172 37 36 01
Salutation: Dear Minister
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
35, No.1 Street
Fax: +7 7172 72 05 16
Salutation: Dear Minister
And copies to:
Prosecutor General of Kazakstan
37, Seifullina Street
Fax: +7 7172 33 39 28
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives of Kazakhstan accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals
after the above date.