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Rights Groups, Activists Criticize Kyrgyz Ban On Russian Man

Kyrgyz human rights activist Nazgul Turdubekova and rights lawyer Sartbai Jaichybekov say they support an Amnesty International statement criticizing the Kyrgyz government for banning a Russian human rights activist from entering the country.

The Kyrgyz rights activists told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that they agree with the Amnesty statement, which says the human rights situation in Kyrgyzstan has deteriorated.

Vitaly Ponomaryov, director of the Central Asia program for the human rights organization Memorial, was refused entry at the Bishkek airport on February 26 and sent back to Moscow.

Human Rights Watch has called for the Kyrgyz government to reverse the ban.

Kyrgyz's National Security Service says it has banned Ponomaryov from entering the country for five years.

Amnesty warned Kyrgyzstan not to follow the human-rights path chosen by Uzbekistan.