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Kyrgyzstan: Lawyers Say Opposition Politician Victim Of Political Trial

Bishkek, 6 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - Lawyers for prominent Kyrgyz opposition politican Topchubek TurgunAliyev have told his trial in Bishkek that he is not guilty of embezzlement and is the victim of a politically-motivated trial.

Lawyers Yuri Maksimov and Sagyn Ashirbekov, in speeches to the court, said the case should in any case be handled in a civil court, not in criminal court.

Ramazan Dyryldaev, a public defender and chairman of the Human Rights Committee of Kyrgyzstan, argued that the case -- in which TurgunAliyev is accused of embezzling money from the Bishkek Humanitarian University -- is politically motivated.

Dyryldaev argued that the law has been selectively applied. He said two regional governors were officially accused of embezzling more than $1 million each last year, but no legal action was taken against them.

Earlier today, the prosecutor had called for a 12-year prison sentence for Turgunaliev. The trial was adjourned today until Wednesday.