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Kyrgyzstan: Opposition Leader Freed But On Probation

Bishkek, 26 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - The leader of Kyrgyzstan's opposition Erkin Kyrgyzstan Party was released from custody last night after the Supreme Court reduced his sentence on corruption charges.

Our correspondents in Bishkek quote a member of Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court, Nailya Ibragimova, as saying that Topchubek TurgunAliyev has been put on probation in Bishkek, where he must live and register with city authorities every month.

TurgunAliyev was sentenced last month by a Bishkek municipal court to 10 years in prison and confiscation of all his property on charges of abuse of power, forgery and embezzlement. Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court last week excluded the charges of forgery and embezzlement and reduced the sentence to four years at a penal colony.

The opposition says the trial was politically motivated, and international human rights groups had appealed to Kyrgyz president Askar Akayev to overturn the verdict.