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Kyrgyz Protesters Demand Release Of Former Security Officials

The building of the Kyrgyz National Philharmonic Orchestra in Bishkek

The building of the Kyrgyz National Philharmonic Orchestra in Bishkek

BISHKEK -- Some 50 protesters have picketed the building of the Kyrgyz National Philharmonic Orchestra to demand the immediate release of two former security officials on trial over the deaths of protesters during last year's popular uprising, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The protest in support of former State Security Service deputy commanders Daniyar Dunganov and Nurlan Temirbaev came as President Roza Otunbaeva, UN officials, and foreign ambassadors attended an official ceremony at the Philharmonic Orchestra building to mark United Nations Day.

The protesters carried placards saying "Kyrgyzstan Is A Country of Torture!" and calling on presidential chief of staff Emil Kaptagaev to resign.

Dunganov and Temirbaev, along with 26 other former officials, including ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiev, are on trial for either having fired upon, or giving the command to open fire upon, unarmed demonstrators on April 7, 2010. Nearly 90 people were killed and some 400 wounded, of whom 12 subsequently died of their injuries.

The State Security Service was led by Janysh Bakiev, a brother of Kurmanbek Bakiev, who was toppled as a result of the April protests.

The trial began in November. Most of the defendants are in detention or under house arrest, with the exception of Kurmanbek and Janysh Bakiev and a few others, who are being tried in absentia.

Kurmanbek Bakiev is living in Belarus at the invitation of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka. Janysh Bakiev's whereabouts are unknown.

Read more in Kyrgyz here