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Kyrgyz Officials Ban Rally By Supporters Of Jailed Opposition Leader

Hunger strikers are calling for the release of former Defense Minister Ismail Isakov
Hunger strikers are calling for the release of former Defense Minister Ismail Isakov
BISHKEK -- Supporters of jailed former Kyrgyz Defense Minister Ismail Isakov have been banned from holding a rally for him in the Alay district of the southern Osh region, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Activist Taalay Zikirov told RFE/RL that the protesters have filed a lawsuit against the heads of two local administrative units in Alay, Keldibekov and
Gulcho, for prohibiting their rallies today and the day before.

Isakov's supporters say the officials' decision to prevent them from holding a protest violates their civil rights.

Isakov, a lieutenant general who served as Kyrgyzstan's defense minister from 2005-2008, was found guilty of corruption by a military court and sentenced to eight years in jail on January 11.

Meanwhile, Topchubek Turgunaliev, the leader of a hunger strike in support of Isakov, said on January 28 that the strike will continue until the verdict against Isakov is reviewed by the military's Supreme Court.

There are some 21 people on hunger strike in Bishkek and Isakov's home region, the Alay district.

Anipa Mamatisaeva, Isakov's 85-year-old mother, joined the hunger strike on January 24.

Isakov was a close associate of Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev, who made him defense minister shortly after the 2005 Tulip Revolution.

Isakov was appointed secretary of the National Security Council in May 2008. He left the post in October 2008 and joined Kyrgyzstan's political opposition.

Isakov and his supporters say the charges against him are politically motivated because of his work with the opposition.