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Charges Against Former Kyrgyz Opposition Leader Dismissed


Topchubek Turgunaliev 4 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court today acquitted a former opposition leader of two of three criminal charges brought against him by the former government of Askar Akaev, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reported.

The court acquitted Topchubek Turgunaliev of charges accusing him of embezzlement and distributing anti-government literature. The charges were leveled against him in 1995.

Speaking to RFE/RL in Bishkek, Turgunaliev said he considers today's ruling to be a sign of changing times since a popular uprising in March toppled Akaev's government.

"Today the Supreme Court acquitted me of the [1995] Karakol case," he said. "This could be considered as a sign of a new epoch which started on 24 March."

On 5 August, the court is due to consider a third case against Turgunaliev, concerning a charge that he was involved in a plot to kill Akaev.

Turgunaliev was jailed and released three times under Akaev's government. He has always said that the charges that brought him to jail were politically motivated.

His last release from jail was in August 2001. Since then, he has been campaigning to clear his name.

(RFE)
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