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Groups Say Nepotism, Corruption Threaten Kyrgyzstan

(RFE/RL) PRAGUE, 15 September 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Two human rights groups say they are "deeply concerned" by the political situation in Kyrgyzstan.

The comment came in a joint statement released on September 14 by the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights and the Kyrgyz Committee for Human Rights.

The groups said that unless President Kurmanbek Bakiev's government made "credible efforts" to tackle "growing corruption, nepotism, and political manipulation of the judicial system", these and other problems could lead to serious instability.

They noted that the opposition planned to hold a protest rally in the southern town of Aksy on September 17, where participants are expected to call for the resignation of Bakiev and Prime Minister Feliks Kulov.

The groups said human rights and media freedom had improved since last year's change of political leadership.

But they said nepotism remained "as egregious" as before, and that corruption penetrated "even more deeply now that in the previous regime."

Meanwhile, Kyrgyz tax and customs inspectors will soon have to undergo lie-detector tests. An order posted on the Kyrgyz government's website says the new pilot project is aimed at enhancing anticorruption efforts and evaluating civil servants' professional skills.

Prime Minister Kulov said he had instructed Kyrgyzstan's anticorruption agency to get in touch with the relevant international organizations with a view to purchasing lie detectors.

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

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