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Kyrgyz Court Sentences Uzbek Community Leader

Osh, the largest city in southern Kyrgyzstan, has a large Uzbek population and many of the refugees (pictured) from a crackdown by the Uzbek government in Andijon in May 2005 initially headed for the city (official site) BISHKEK, August 3, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- A court in southern Kyrgyzstan has given an Uzbek community leader a seven-year suspended jail sentence with a three-year probation period.

The court in Mayluu-Suu on August 2 found Mamatkadyr Karabaev guilty of fraud and falsification of official documents.

Karabaev denies the charges, which he says are fabricated.

Karabaev was arrested on June 6, shortly after participating in a rally to demand that Uzbek be given the status of an official language in Kyrgyzstan. He says that was the real reason for his arrest.

Ethnic Uzbeks represent the largest population group in some of Kyrgyzstan's southern areas.

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