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Kyrgyz Protesters Defy Ban To Rally For Jailed Politician

Former Defense Minister Ismail Isakov has been sentenced to eight years in prison.
SOPU-KORGON, Kyrgyzstan -- More than 200 protesters rallied today in the southern Kyrgyz village of Sopu-Korgon to demand the release of imprisoned former Defense Minister Ismail Isakov, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Isakov was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to eight years in jail on January 11. He pleaded not guilty and said the case against him is politically motivated because of his opposition activities.

Local authorities officially banned today's gathering.

Isakov's sister, Rapiya Isakova, told RFE/RL that the protesters gathered near the house of Isakov's parents. Many protesters came from neighboring villages.

The gathering was coordinated by the Committee to Protect Ismail Isakov.

Ten people, including Isakov's 85-year-old mother Anipa Mamatisaeva, have held a three-week hunger strike in protest against Isakov's imprisonment.