The Russian prosecutor's office has stopped the extradition of 13 Uzbek citizens accused by the government of Uzbekistan of terrorism.
The 13 have been linked to last year's uprising in the Uzbek city of Andijan. Witnesses say Uzbek troops killed an estimated 700 unarmed demonstrators in that uprising. The Uzbek government puts the figure at 187, and says most of those were Islamic militants.
Russian prosecutors had earlier approved the extradition. However, Tuesday they ordered a halt to the proceedings while the suspects appealed to the European Court of Human Rights.
Human rights activists say the 13 face torture and execution if they are returned to Uzbekistan.
Russian prosecutors said earlier this month, when the extraditions were originally approved, that they had received written guarantees that none of the suspects would be tortured or executed if they were extradited.Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.