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Witness In Kyrgyz Opposition Leader's Death Found Dead


Burned-out vehicles at the site of the disputed accident where the bodies of Medet Sadyrkulov and two other men were found.

Burned-out vehicles at the site of the disputed accident where the bodies of Medet Sadyrkulov and two other men were found.

BISHKEK -- A man jailed for his role in a controversial car accident that killed a Kyrgyz opposition leader last year has been found dead, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Anarkul Akmatov, the lawyer of Omurbek Osmonov, said his client was found dead on April 17 in the village of Besh-Kungey. He said his body had 11 stab wounds.

Osmonov, 25, was serving a prison term as the driver of a car that is alleged to have hit a vehicle in March 2009 carrying Medet Sadyrkulov, the former chief of staff of ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiev who had left the government two months earlier to join the opposition.

Opposition leaders, Osmonov's lawyers, and relatives of the victims have challenged police investigators' conclusion that the three men died in a collision with a vehicle that Osmonov was driving. The car they were in was charred and their bodies were burnt beyond recognition.

The victims' lawyers said the bodies of the victims were in positions indicating that they were already dead when the car was set on fire.

Kyrgyzstan's interim government has pledged to reinvestigate Sadyrkulov's death.

On June 5, 2009, Osmonov was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to 12 years in a minimum security labor camp.
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