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Jailed 'Religious Extremists' Released In Kyrgyzstan

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz officials have released 18 people who had been jailed on charges of being Islamic extremists, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Asiya Sasykbaeva, the chief of the nongovernmental organization Interbilim, told RFE/RL that some members of the group were taken to the Kyrgyz Ombudsman's Office after their release from a prison near Bishkek on May 17.

Among those released from jail were three women and a 6-month-old girl.

Adakhamjan Isakov was among those released. He told RFE/RL that he was sentenced to 20 years in jail for religious extremism, terrorism, and wrongdoing against the state. He said he is not guilty of any of those charges.

The group was arrested in the southern town of Nookat on October 1, 2008, while celebrating the Islamic Eid al-Fitr holiday. They clashed with security forces who were enforcing an order to limit the celebrations.

Thirty-two people were detained and 18 were found guilty of belonging to the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir religious group. In May 2009 they received prison terms ranging from nine to 20 years.

On April 27, the interim government announced an amnesty devoted to the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II and in commemoration of those killed during the April 7 uprising that ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiev.