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Kyrgyzstan: Akaev Extends Moratorium On Death Penalty

Bishkek, 15 January 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyz authorities today extended a moratorium on death sentences in the country for another year. The extension, signed into law by President Askar Akaev, orders the extension of the moratorium until 31 December 2002.

An announcement says the extension is to confirm Kyrgyzstan's commitment to "basic human rights and freedoms." A two-year moratorium on the death sentence was first introduced in 1998.

Kyrgyzstan adopted a human rights program in early January under which the death penalty could be abolished by 2010.

Meanwhile, the visit to Kyrgyzstan by a group of U.S. senators led by Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota) has been postponed a day to 17 January, ITAR-TASS reported, citing the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry. The delay reflects a change in the senators' Central Asian itinerary, the agency said.

The U.S. lawmakers are expected to meet with Kyrgyz leaders, including President Akaev, to discuss the international antiterrorism effort and democratic reforms in Kyrgyzstan, ITAR-TASS reported, as well as the military and political situation in neighboring Afghanistan.