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Kyrgyzstan: Rights Group Seeks Visit With Turgunaliev

Bishkek, 13 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - Human rights groups in Kyrgyzstan asked today for a chance to meet with imprisoned opposition party leader Topchubek Turgunaliev. The groups include the Kyrgyz-American Bureau on Human Rights, the Human Rights Committee of Kyrgyzstan and the Public Committee on defense of Turgunaliev.

The director of the Kyrgyz-American Bureau, Natalya Ablova, told our correspondent that they sent the appeal to the Supreme Court and the Interior Ministry. She says Turgunaliev's spouse, Sabyrgul Turgunalieva, has been permitted to visit her husband only twice since he was convicted by a Bishkek municipal court last month.

Turgunaliev, chairman of the opposition Erkin Kyrgyzstan Party, was accused of embezzlement and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Opposition groups say the charges were politically motivated. His lawyers have appealed.