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Former Kyrgyz Politicians Charged With Planning 'Mass Disorder'

One of the defendants, Usen Sydykov, is a former head of ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiev's office.
BISHKEK -- The cases against two Kyrgyz politicians accused of planning mass disorder and attempting to overthrow the government were sent to court today, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Iskhak Masaliev, former parliament member and head of Kyrgyzstan's Communist Party, and Usen Sydykov, the former chief of President Kurmanbek Bakiev's office, have officially been charged with the crimes.

The two were detained on May 14 based on a recorded phone conversation in which they purportedly discussed how to organize unrest in southern Kyrgyzstan. Sydykov was in the southern town of Nookat at the time of his detention.

Two people died in ethnic clashes in the Jalal-Abad region on May 12-13, and more than 400 were killed a month later in the Jalal-Abad and Osh regions.

The men's lawyer, Kairat Zagibaev, told RFE/RL that the case has been sent to Bishkek's Birinchi Mai district court. He said the exact trial date is not known.

Masaliev spent about two weeks in jail in May before being released and placed under house arrest. He said then that the charge against him is "absolutely groundless."

Masaliev, 50, is the son of Absamat Masaliev, the Kyrgyz Communist Party's first secretary and leader of the Soviet republic until the USSR collapsed in 1991. Absamat Masaliev led the party until his death in July 2004, when his son took over.

Iskhak Masaliev resigned in August as head of the Communist Party, saying that his detention prevented him from campaigning for the parliamentary elections. The Communists failed to garner enough votes in the October 10 elections to enter parliament.