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Kyrgyzstan: Leading Opposition Figure Sentenced To Jail

Bishkek, 8 May 2002 (RFE/RL) -- A Kyrgyz court today sentenced a leading opposition politician, Feliks Kulov, and his associate on charges of embezzlement to 10 and six years in prison, respectively, and fines of more than $400,000. The charges against former Vice President Feliks Kulov and his co-defendant Aleksander Gasanov date to 1993-97, when Kulov was governor of Chu Oblast and Gasanov headed a construction company there.

Kulov is already serving a prison term, having been sentenced in January 2001 to seven years on charges of abusing power when heading the National Security Ministry in 1997-98. He had previously (in August 2000) been acquitted of the same charges.

Defense lawyers say they will appeal the sentence.