12 Kazakhstan tourists kept in custody in Uzbekistan 28 июля 2011, 06:34
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Photo courtesy of kp.ru
July 14 at 14:30 a group of Kazakhstan’s tourists comprising 9 teens and 3 adults were taken under custody by the Uzbek border control officers nearby Ugam mountain range in Uzbekistan, Arman Assibekov, Head of the South Kazakhstan Department for Emergencies, told Tengrinews.kz.
“The search operations to spot the “missing” Kazakh tourists are over. All the 12 tourists turn out to have been taken to the detention facility of the Bostandyk Interior Ministry Department in Uzbekistan. The tourists might have wandered off the trail and stepped on the Uzbek soil. In one of the gorges there is one trail towards the Uzbek border that actually crosses the border. That’s where they might have been detained. It is yet to be known why the Uzbek authorities didn’t report the detention of the Kazakh group deemed missing. Their fate is to be agreed on at the interstate level”, Assibekov told.
According to Gaukhar Sarsembayeva, spouse of one of the tourists, the group was not professional. Her husband Erbol Urazalin along with a son went on a hiking trip with the rest of the group. The group failed to get back home by July 20 as was originally planned. Alarmed, she made a request to Uzbekistan authorities July 25. The Uzbek officials denied detaining any Kazakh tourists at the time. However, later the Kazakh side learnt that the group had been taken into custody July 14.
“Our families have been in Uzbekistan for two weeks. There is no way to contact them. Had we learnt earlier, we would have taken measures by now. One of the group is diabetic. I am afraid he might have run out of insulin long ago”, Gaukhar Sarsembayeva said.
“We are contacting the migration authorities, the consulate, the Kazakhstan’s representation office. We want to make sure our children are all right. But we are being told we won’t be allowed in”, she said.
Ilyas Omarov, spokesman of the Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry, said that July 28 the Kazakhstan’s consul would be meeting the interrogator of the Bostandyk Interior Ministry Department in Uzbekistan. Besides, the Kazakh side formally requested a meeting with the tourists.