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Former Kyrgyz Defense Minister Sentenced To Eight Years

WATCH: Ismail Isakov's sentencing in the Bishkek Military Court to eight years in prison for corruption sparked scuffles. Isakov's supporters shouted "Damnation! Damnation" as he was led from the courtroom.

BISHKEK -- A Bishkek military court today sentenced former Kyrgyz Defense Minister Ismail Isakov to eight years in prison for corruption while in office, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

After the verdict was announced, Isakov said: "All the [Kyrgyz] people, I suppose, will not be indifferent to these kinds of cases. If we don't stand up to the oppression [by the state], to the despotic will, to the politics of repression of our own nation, the politics of the [state's] rejection of its own people's view today, then tomorrow it will be too late."

Isakov, a lieutenant general who was defense minister from 2005 to 2008, was found guilty of issuing an apartment to his son based on false documents. Other charges of corruption and financial mismanagement were dismissed.

He was also stripped of his military rank. A motion by prosecutors to seize his property was rejected by the court.

Many witnesses in the trial testified in favor of the defendant. In his final statement during the trial, Isakov said the criminal charges against him are politically motivated. He called on the judge "not to commit the sin of making a politically ordered verdict."

Meanwhile, Isakov's supporters held rallies in Bishkek and his native Alai region, where some 300 people came out in the southern region to protest and demand his release from jail. The demonstrators in Alai said they will march to Osh and Bishkek to protest the verdict.

Isakov was a close associate of President Kurmanbek Bakiev. He became defense minister shortly after the "Tulip Revolution" in March 2005 that brought Bakiev to power.

Isakov was appointed secretary of the National Security Council in May 2008. He left the post in October 2008 and joined Kyrgyzstan's political opposition.

His colleagues, relatives, and human rights groups said the lawsuit against Isakov is in retaliation for his opposition activity.