Russia: prison guards in refuse to release Uzbekistan uprising suspect

A regional court in the city of Ivanovo, northeast of Moscow, overturned a ruling that had kept Khatam Khadzhimatov, an ethnic Uzbek with Russian citizenship, in custody and ordered him released pending a rehearing of his case, but guards refused to let him go. The prison guards said they could not set Khadzhimatov free without first obtaining permission from their superiors, the AP reports. Khadzhimatov is among 14 suspects held in Ivanovo on a number of charges including involvement in a May 13 uprising in the Uzbek city of Andijan that ended in heavy gunfire. The Uzbek government says 187 people were killed and denies its troops fired indiscriminately on defenseless protesters, but rights groups have said as many as 750 died.

The Ivanovo suspects also include a Kyrgyz citizen and 12 citizens of Uzbekistan, which seeks their extradition. The 13 suspects have applied for asylum in Russia and therefore cannot be extradited. A.M.

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