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DUSHANBE -- Tajik human rights activist Nigina Bakhrieva says the decision by Kyrgyz officials to ban her from entering Kyrgyzstan was a great surprise, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Bakhrieva told RFE/RL that border guards at Bishkek's Manas Airport did not allow her to enter the country on December 2 when she arrived and told her she cannot enter Kyrgyzstan until 2019.

No explanations for the refusal were given.

Bakhrieva says she was invited by the Kyrgyz nongovernmental organization Voice of Liberty to take part in training for employees in the Kyrgyz ombudsman's office.

She said rights activists will ask Ombudsman Tursunbek Akun to seek an official explanation for the ban against her.

Bakhrieva said she has traveled to Kyrgyzstan regularly since 2004 and it is "a pity" she will not be able to go there for 10 years.

She added that she has never been involved in politics and went to Bishkek as a human rights expert for seminars held by the United Nations' office in Bishkek.

Bakhrieva said she has a visa to take part in a conference in the Turkmen capital, Ashgabat, next week "so I do not have any problems entering Turkmenistan, but I now have problems to enter the so-called 'island of democracy' in Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan."

Bakhrieva was one of the experts who filed a report on the situation in the southern Kyrgyz village of Nookat where, in October 2008, Nookat residents protested after not being allowed to celebrate in a stadium the Eid al-Fitr festival marking the end of Ramadan.

Dozens of people were sentenced to jail for "organizing unsanctioned mass gatherings that led to mass disorder."

Human rights activists consider the incident a politically motivated move against practicing Muslims.
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