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BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court says it is ready to revise its ruling against jailed human rights defender Azimjan Askarov.

The Supreme Court's chairwoman, Ainash Tokbaeva, said on April 25 that its decision in December 2011 to uphold Askarov's conviction by a lower court must be revised in order to comply with a call from the UN Commission on Human Rights.

The UN body said on April 21 that authorities in Bishkek should release Askarov from prison after the rights activist complained that charges against him were politically motivated.

Askarov, a Kyrgyz national of Uzbek origin, is serving a life sentence on charges that he was an organizer behind deadly clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz citizens in southern Kyrgyzstan in 2010.

He also was convicted of involvement in the murder of a policeman who was killed during the violence.

More than 450 people, mostly ethnic Uzbeks, were killed in the clashes.


A French-Iranian citizen who left Iran in 2009 after facing espionage charges has been sentenced to six years in jail but was released on bail.

Kaleme, an Iranian opposition website, reported late on April 24 that former French Embassy employee Nazak Afshar was arrested in March upon her arrival at Tehran’s international airport.

The website reported that the 58-year-old Afshar was freed on bail from Tehran’s notorious Evin prison after she was formally charged.

Iran’s judiciary has not commented on her case or made the charges against her public.

Several other dual-nationality citizens or expatriates have been arrested upon returning to visit Iran.

A spokesman for the Iranian judiciary said on April 24 that four dual-nationality citizens had recently been sentenced for their connections to foreign countries.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and Kaleme

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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