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Kyrgyz Constitutional Court Overrules Ban On Public Assembly

Aziza Abdyrasulova of the Kyrgyz NGO Torch of the Century
Aziza Abdyrasulova of the Kyrgyz NGO Torch of the Century
Kyrgyzstan's Constitutional Court has ruled that a decision to restrict places of public meetings or demonstrations in the capital is unconstitutional.

Under a law adopted in 1994, officials had the right to ban or permit public gatherings. The Bishkek City Council invoked the law last year to prevent groups from staging protests against the government in the capital's biggest squares.

But as RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports, the Constitutional Court said the law contradicts the new constitution adopted in October 2007. The new constitution does not allow local authorities to permit or restrict rallies.

The nongovernmental Kyrgyz organization Kylym Shamy (Torch of the Century), led by Aziza Abdyrasulova, appealed the Bishkek City Council decision. ( Read an in-depth profile of Abdyrasulova in our "On The Front Lines" series.)

Kyrgyz human rights activists and Kyrgyz Ombudsman Tursunbek Akun have praised the latest court ruling.