13 November 2000
PROTEST PICKET IN JALAL-ABAD CONTINUES.
Sixteen people, including four children, continued their protest picket in the town of Jalal-Abad on 13 November for the 29th consecutive day. They are demanding the release of seven men sentenced by a Bishkek district court in early September on charges of plotting to assassinate President Askar Akaev last year (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 4 September 2000). On 13 November the protesters filed suit against police who confiscated their placards last week during a peaceful protest.
The Bishkek City Court began on 7 November to consider the appeal by the seven men and it completed questioning them on 13 November. Six of them said that they met for the first time with Topchubek Turgunaliev, who was accused of "ideological leadership" of the group and sentenced to 16 years of jail, only when brought to court to face trial.
MEETING OF THE NGO COALITION.
The Coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations held a meeting in Bishkek on 12-13 November to assess the results of its monitoring of the 29 October presidential election, and will release its report on the ballot on 15 November. The coalition announced earlier that the election was neither free nor fair.
NEW PARLIAMENT DEPUTY ELECTED.
On 12 November, a run-off election for a vacant seat in the parliamentary Legislative Assembly was held, and the pro-rector of the National University Mahmud Kuchukov won it. The seat became vacant after deputy Erkinbek Matyev was killed in an air crash on 15 March, just three days after the parliamentary election.
RAMADAN WILL BEGIN ON 27 NOVEMBER.
The Muftiyat (Muslim Board) announced on 13 November that the holy month of Ramadan will begin in Kyrgyzstan this year on 27 November, as in other Muslim countries except for Uzbekistan, where it will start two days earlier. The feast of Orozo-Ait will be celebrated on 27 December.
MEETING OF KYRGYZ BUSINESSMEN WORKING IN RUSSIA.
Kyrgyz businessman working in Russia held a meeting in Bishkek on 11 November to discuss the problems they encounter in Russia. According to the chairwoman of the society of united Kyrgyz traders in Russia, Bubuaisha Arstanbekova, they decided to hold new protest meetings in Bishkek if their problems are not resolved soon.
Customs officers in some Russian towns confiscated goods belonging to Kyrgyz businessmen late in October, inflicting financial damage of almost $1 million and driving four Kyrgyz businessmen to commit suicide. A special government commission was formed early in November, and Russian Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Georgy Rudov said he sent letters to the governors of the Sverdlovsk and Kurgan Oblasts and to the Russian Customs Committee demanding that the confiscations be investigated.
TURKISH FIRM TO PAY BACK WAGES.
The Turkish firm engaged in rebuilding the Bishkek-Osh highway announced in Bishkek on 13 November that it will begin to pay back wages on 15 November. Ninety-two Kyrgyz employees who have not been paid since April held a protest picket, blocking the highway last week. The firm owes its employees 4 million soms (about $83,000).
TWO POST OFFICIALS SENTENCED TO JAIL.
The Talas regional court sentenced two local post officials to jail on 13 November on charges of misappropriating pensions amounting to about 300,000 soms (about $6,250). Nadezhda Safonova was sentenced to 13 years and Irina Kochubei to 10 years of imprisonment.