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Kyrgyzstan: Officials Charged Over Aksy Protest

Bishkek, 30 August 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The Kyrgyz Prosecutor-General's Office said today it was filing charges against six officials accused of mishandling an opposition protest that ended in police violence in March this year. But it also justified the police, saying law-enforcement officers had the right to fire at the crowd. Five people were killed after police opened fire on the demonstrators in southern Djalalabad's Aksy Raion on 17 March.

The six officials, including prosecutors and police officers, have already been dismissed in connection with the protest.

Deputy Prosecutor-General Kurmantai Abdiev and investigator Sergek Jeyenbekov today said all six were accused of preventing a demonstration and would be charged with abuse of power.

The six have said that they were ordered to fire at the crowd.

The Aksy events were the first outbreak of political violence since Kyrgyzstan gained independence in 1991.