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Kyrgyzstan's Aksy Massacre Trial Postponed

A memorial to the Aksy victims

A memorial to the Aksy victims

BISHKEK -- A hearing into the shooting deaths of six Kyrgyz protesters nearly a decade ago that began on January 20 in a Bishkek military court has been postponed, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Kyrgyz Supreme Court spokesman Baktybek Rysaliev told RFE/RL today that the postponement was granted after the defendants' lawyers asked the judge to order an additional investigation into the case.

No date was given for the resumption of the trial.

On March 17, 2002, security forces in the village of Aksy opened fire on dozens of people protesting a government decision to give China a swathe of disputed territory. Four people were killed and nearly 30 injured in the incident.

The next day in Kerben, Aksy district's administrative center, police shot dead one protester and another was severely beaten. He later died of his injuries.

Nobody was prosecuted for the killings.

The events took place when Askar Akaev was president. Akaev's prime minister was Kurmanbek Bakiev, who became president after the 2005 Tulip Revolution that forced Akaev out. Bakiev himself was ousted last April.

The decision to resume the investigation into the Aksy killings was made last year after the interim government came to power and Bakiev fled Kyrgyzstan for Belarus, where he currently lives.

Kyrgyzstan's former Security Council Secretary Bolot Januzakov, former Prosecutor-General Chubak Abyshkaev, former Jalal-Abad Oblast prosecutor Zootbek Kudaibergenov, and the former chief of the National Security office in Jalal-Abad, Tashtan Mambetaliev, are charged with abuse of office and the illegal arrest of peaceful demonstrators. They are all in detention.

Judge Almaz Apyshov ruled on January 20 that the trial would be held behind closed doors.

Read in Kyrgyz here