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Kyrgyzstan: Court To Hear Appeal On Journalists' Case

Prague, 5 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - Kyrgyzstan's supreme court is due to consider an appeal today by two Kyrgyz journalists found guilty of libeling a chief at a state enterprise.

Our correspondent says the court will consider the case of Zamira Sydykova, chief editor of the independent "Res Publica" weekly, and Alexandr Alyanchikov, a correspondent with the same paper. Both were found guilty last May of insulting and libeling the manager of the country's state gold company and jailed for 18 months. But, one month later, a municipal court suspended Alyanchikov's sentence and reduced Sydykova's sentence to 18 months of hard labor, without imprisonment.

The country's Prosecutor General appealed to the Supreme Court to have the original sentences reinstituted. The Prosecutor General claims the chairman of the municipal court that granted clemency to the journalists is an opposition supporter and should be dismissed.

The independent Human Rights Committee of Kyrgyzstan charged yesterday that government officials exert tremendous pressure on the country's judges.