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Bakiev, Associates To Be Tried In Absentia Next Week

Former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev
Former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev
BISHKEK -- Former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev is to be tried in absentia next week in connection with the deadly clashes that prompted his ouster in April, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The November 15 trial is the first against Bakiev since he was swept from power in the antigovernment uprising.

Supreme Court spokesman Baktybek Rysaliev told RFE/RL that, in all, 28 defendants will face trial on charges of firing on, or giving the order to fire on, antigovernment demonstrators on April 7.

A total of 87 people died and hundreds were wounded in the clashes between demonstrators and security forces that toppled Bakiev and brought Kyrgyzstan’s interim government led by Roza Otunbaeva to power.

The defendants include former leading members of the security forces.

Six, including Bakiev and his brother Janysh, are not in Kyrgyzstan and will be tried in absentia.

Deputy Prime Minister Azimbek Beknazarov told journalists in Bishkek today that the trial would be the first to be held in absentia in the country's history.

Beknazarov said the trial will be held in Bishkek's Sports Palace as about 1,000 people are expected to take part.

The trial was originally scheduled for October 25 but was postponed due to "improper coordination and organization of the trial."

Bakiev has been living in Belarus at President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's invitation since April.

He is also wanted by Kyrgyz authorities for abuse of power and financial crimes including corruption and embezzlement.