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Rights Group: Uzbeks Tortured By Kyrgyz Police

An international human rights group is calling on Kyrgyz authorities to stop what it describes as widespread torture and arbitrary detention of ethnic Uzbeks. Human Rights Watch says Uzbeks are being disproportionately arrested as part of a government drive to investigate and punish those responsible for deadly ethnic riots in the south of Kyrgyzstan last month.

Kyrgystan-based Human Rights Watch researcher Anna Neistat said coercing confessions through torture discredits the investigation and fans the flames of ethnic conflict. The group says it has documented dozens of cases where people held in connection with the violence have been subjected to torture by asphyxiation and burning with cigarettes.

An estimated 2,000 people were killed during ethnic clashes between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks that began June 10 in the southern cities of Osh and Jalalabad.

The Kyrgyz interim government has struggled to maintain stability since taking power in April. President Roza Otunbayeva formed a caretaker government with the appointment of a new Cabinet on Wednesday.

The new Cabinet was named after leading ministers from the interim government resigned Tuesday to take part in parliamentary elections set for October.

The interim government was formed following the deadly April 7 uprising that ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, APF and Reuters