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A Kazakh woman seeking asylum in Kyrgyzstan on a claim of religious persecution has gone missing, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz and Kazakh services report.

Samal Kismetova has not been seen by her family or friends since July 13. Originally from western Kazakhstan, she had been living with her family in Bishkek since 2009 while she is trying to obtain refugee status from the UN office in Bishkek.

Kismetova is a follower of the Salafi strain of Islam, which is considered extremist by Kazakh authorities.

Kismetova's husband, Dianat Erdeshov, told RFE/RL his wife left their apartment in Bishkek to visit a doctor on July 13 and did not return.

He said she and members of her family received threatening phone calls and text messages both before and after her disappearance.

Erdeshov has asked the UN Office in Bishkek and local police to help locate his wife.
Opposition activists Davit Kiramijian (left) and Sargis Gevorgian at the start of their trial in Yerevan on July 14
YEREVAN -- Two men arrested during a recent opposition protest in Yerevan went on trial on charges their supporters say are politically motivated, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Davit Kiramijian and Sargis Gevorgian were among some 15 people detained on May 31 during clashes between riot police and several dozen supporters of the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK).

The police forcibly kept the opposition activists from entering the city's newly renovated Liberty Square, the main venue for political gatherings in Armenia since the late 1980s.

All detainees except Kiramijian, Gevorgian, and his sister Ani -- a journalist with the pro-opposition "Haykakan Zhamanak" daily -- were released later that day. The Gevorgians were set free pending investigation three days later, while Kiramijian was remanded in two-month, pretrial detention.

A Yerevan court unexpectedly ordered the 19-year-old university student's release earlier this month.

Faced with an uproar from local media groups, the police decided not to press charges against Ani Gevorgian. But they charged her brother with "shoving" a police officer and tearing off one of his epaulettes.

Kiramijian, for his part, stands accused of "hooliganism." The police claim he verbally abused and beat up a passerby together with several other HAK activists.

Both men pleaded not guilty to the accusations at the start of the trial on July 14. Their defense lawyer, Melania Arustamian, said the case was "fabricated" for political purposes.

"There is no evidence to substantiate the accusations," Arustamian told RFE/RL. "We will be fighting for their acquittal."

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