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Gulmira Maqsutova with her daughter following her acquittal in Osh today (RFE/RL) OSH, Kyrgyzstan; September 29, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- A court in the southern Kyrgyz city of Osh today ordered the release of four alleged members of Akramiya, an Islamic-rooted organization authorities in neighboring Uzbekistan blame for last year's Andijon unrest.

Two of the defendants were cleared of all charges. The other two were fined for carrying counterfeit Kyrgyz passports and were released in the courtroom.

Charges initially included illegally possessing ammunitions and plotting terrorist attacks. Presiding Judge Tursunbai Aibakiev said the court found no evidence to back those charges

The defendants "did not carry out any illegal actions such as bombing, arson, disturbing public order, or any other [such crimes]," Aibakiev said. "They did not threaten people or put pressure on the authorities to achieve their goals, and they did not threaten to perpetrate such crimes."

Among the four defendants was Gulmira Maqsutova, the daughter of Akramiya's imprisoned leader, Akram Yuldashev. Yuldashev is serving a 17-year prison sentence in Uzbekistan on terror charges that he denies.

Talking to reporters after her release, Maqsutova said she would turn to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for help.

Kyrgyz rights activists welcomed today's court ruling.
Hizb Ut-Tahrir

Arms and leaflets allegedly confiscated from Hizb ut-Tahrir members in Kyrgyzstan in May (RFE/RL)

ATTRACTIVE TO THE YOUNG: It is virtually impossible to estimate the size or composition of Hizb ut-Tahrir's membership in Central Asia, because the controversial movement is banned in most places. But some observers say anecdotal evidence suggests the group's core of younger members is growing....(more)


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