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Former Kyrgyz President's Trial Postponed

Former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev
BISHKEK -- The trial in absentia of former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev has been postponed to November 17, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Bakiev is to be tried in connection with the clashes between demonstrators and security forces that precipitated his ouster in April.

A total of 28 defendants face charges of firing on, or giving the order to fire on, antigovernment demonstrators on April 7. Nearly 90 people were killed in the clashes and hundreds more were wounded.

President Roza Otunbaeva, who heads Kyrgyzstan's interim government, told an award ceremony on November 15 that the trial of Bakiev and his former associates and relatives should not be considered retaliation.

The defendants include former leading members of the security forces. Six of them, including Bakiev and his brother Janysh, are not in Kyrgyzstan.

The trial, which was initially due to start on November 15, will be held in Bishkek's Sports Palace in order to accommodate an estimated 1,000 witnesses, relatives of victims, and journalists.

Bakiev has been living in Belarus at President Alyaksandr Lukashenka's invitation since April. He is also wanted by the Kyrgyz authorities for abuse of power and financial crimes, including corruption and embezzlement.