Bishkek, 19 February 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Residents in the southern Djalalabad Oblast of Kyrgyzstan said today that they released twelve hostages taken on 18 February in protests over the arrest and trial of a local parliamentary deputy. The residents of the Kara-Suu village said that they released the eight district officials and four drivers after several of their representatives were allowed to see jailed deputy Azimbek Beknazarov. The residents say they were assured Beknazarov is fine.
Daniyar Kuluev, the head of the Aksy district police department, said he was not held hostage. He said he stayed in the village to discuss the problem with the residents.
Beknazarov is from the Kara-Suu village. He was arrested last month on charges of abuse of power. The residents of the village said they took the officials hostage and kept their children from school on 18 February in protest of reports that Beknazarov had been beaten.