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Former Kyrgyz President's Son's Appeal Rejected

Aidar Akaev (file photo) (RFE/RL) October 16, 2006 -- A Bishkek city court today rejected an appeal filed by the son of former President Askar Akaev against a Central Election Commission ruling to strip him of his parliamentary mandate.

Aidar Akaev's lawyer, Galina Skripkina, made the announcement to the press at the end of the court hearing. She said her client would appeal to a higher panel.

The commission on October 5 voted to deprive Aidar Akaev and another lawmaker, Muratbek Malabaev, of their deputy mandates, saying neither man resided in the country.

A parliamentary commission subsequently backed the election commission ruling.

Both Aidar Akaev and Malabaev won parliamentary seats in the disputed 2005 legislative polls that led to President Akaev's ousting and flight to Moscow with his relatives.

Alleged to have ties to the Akaev family, Malabaev reportedly sought refuge in Russia, too.

Crackdown On Extremism

In other news, Justice Minister Marat Kaipov today presented parliament with proposed draft amendments to the existing media law that seek greater penalties for publishing extremist materials.

Under Kyrgyzstan's current legislation, journalists convicted of spreading ideas deemed extremist face up to three years in prison.

Kaipov said the proposed amendments would increase prison terms to between five and 10 years.

In a statement carried by the Kabar news agency, the Kyrgyz branch of the Internews international nongovernmental group warned against the proposed changes, saying they would harm media freedom and encourage self-censorship among journalists.

Kyrgyzstan's AKIpress news agency said lawmakers will examine the government-sponsored amendments on October 19.

Kyrgyz government officials contend the country is facing a resurgence of Islamic militancy in the south.

(AKIpress, Kabar,

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