Amnesty urges Russia not to deport Uzbek

Updated: 2006-10-23 14:37
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ALMATY - The international human rights group Amnesty International urged Russia not to deport an Uzbek national accused of terrorism in his Central Asian homeland, saying he was at risk of death if extradited.

The West has accused Uzbekistan, an authoritarian Central Asian state, of jailing thousands of dissidents and using torture in prison. Uzbek officials deny any use of torture.

"Amnesty International has documented many cases of people who have been forcibly returned to Uzbekistan as alleged members of banned Islamic groups, who have been tortured, convicted after unfair trials, and some have been sentenced to death," Amnesty said in a weekend statement.

It said Rustam Muminov, who moved to Russia in 2000, was arrested at the office of the Russian rights group Civic Assistance Committee in Moscow last week.

A court in Moscow then ordered his deportation due to his failure to present a Russian residency permit, Amnesty said. At home, Muminov is accused of being a member of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, an Islamic group banned in Russia and Central Asia.

"Amnesty International is concerned that if Rustam Muminov is returned to Uzbekistan, he will be at high risk of torture and ill-treatment, and may even be sentenced to death after an unfair trial," it said.

Rights groups have accused Uzbekistan of using what President Islam Karimov calls a growing threat of Islamic radicalism as an excuse to crack down on dissent and religious freedom.