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Ex-Kyrgyz Security Chief Released From Jail

Members of the Alfa unit were accused of shooting protesters in the April demonstrations that led to President Kurmanbek Bakiev's resignation.
BISHKEK -- The former chief of an elite Kyrgyz security unit was transferred from jail shortly after a protest in Bishkek by security officers demanding his release, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Human rights activist Arstanbek Dunganov told RFE/RL that Almaz Joldoshaliev -- the former chief of the special Alfa security unit -- was transferred from jail to house arrest.

The transfer occurred hours after about 100 Kyrgyz security officers protested in front of parliament demanding the release of Joldoshaliev and eight other Alfa members who were jailed after deadly clashes between antigovernment demonstrators and security forces in April.

Eighty-six people died -- including two policemen -- and hundreds were injured during the clashes that ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiev on April 7.

The jailed officers are accused of opening fire on demonstrators. Supporters of the jailed officers say they are not responsible for the outcome of the clashes as they were fulfilling their duties and following orders.

The Alfa officers were charged with opening fire on demonstrators. Hundreds were also injured in the violence.

The protesting security officers demanded to meet with President Roza Otunbaeva.

Omurbek Egemberidiev, the deputy head of the presidential Defense and Order Department, spoke with the demonstrators, assuring them that the fate of the jailed security officers would be "determined in accordance with the law."

Shortly thereafter, Joldoshaliev was transferred to house arrest.