Kyrgyzstan may send 12 Andijan refugees back to Uzbekistan
"I consider that the place of a criminal is in prison... Among the more than 400 Uzbeks who have sought refuge in our country after the Andijan events in May there are 12 who have really committed crimes in Uzbekistan," Bakiyev said.
A total of 29 Uzbeks are currently being detained by Kyrgyz authorities, which already deported four Uzbek refugees in June, sparking protests from the United Nations and human rights groups.
Uzbekistan has demanded the extradition of 133 refugees.
"As for the other Uzbek citizens that do not want to return home, we will not force them," said Bakiyev.
He added however that "we don't need them, let them be taken away," a possible reference to the UN refugee agency's call for Western governments to grant asylum to the Uzbeks.
Bakiyev's last remark sparked loud applause at the conference of his People's Democratic Movement.
The twelve refugees Bakiyev mentioned are guilty of "terrorism, murder and belonging to an extremist organisation" and should be returned to Uzbekistan, Tursunbek Akun, the head of a Kyrgyz governmental human rights commission, told reporters Saturday.
"The other Uzbek citizens should not be returned to their country since they face repression and torture there," Akun said.
United Nations officials warn that the refugees face torture in Uzbekistan and say Kyrgyzstan would be violating international refugee law if it deports the Uzbeks back to their home country.
More than 420 refugees who fled the bloody repression of an insurrection in the eastern Uzbek city of Andijan on May 13 are currently in a camp set up by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Jalal-Abad in southern Kyrgyzstan.
Several hundred people died in the Andijan violence, according to human rights groups. Uzbek authorities say 176 people were killed and have refused any independent inquiry into the deaths.
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