JALAL-ABAD -- The trial of four ethnic Uzbeks for their involvement in the ethnic clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan in mid-June has been postponed because one of the defendants is ill, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.
Ulukbek Abdusalamov, the vice president of the Uzbek Culture Center in the southern city of Jalal-Abad, reportedly had a stroke on September 17 in the hospital, where his lawyer said he had been taken after he felt bad a few days earlier. The trial's secretary said several witnesses were also not in the courtroom.
Abdusalamov and three of his associates are charged with inciting interethnic hatred that led to deadly clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in Jalal-Abad from June 11-14 that led to nearly 400 people being killed and hundreds of thousands fleeing their homes.
The trial is set to resume on September 22.
Abdusalamov is the chief editor of the bilingual (Uzbek and Kyrgyz) weekly "Didor" (Image). He was arrested by Kyrgyz security forces while trying to cross the Kyrgyz-Uzbek border days after the unrest.
Kadyrjan Batyrov, president of the Uzbek Culture Center in Jalal-Abad, is also wanted by Kyrgyz authorities on the same charges. Batyrov is also the founder of Jalal-Abad's Peoples' Friendship University, which was heavily damaged during the violence. His whereabouts are unknown.
Earlier this week, Batyrov put a video statement on YouTube in which he said he is innocent of the charges against him.
He added that Abdusalamov and well-known ethnic Uzbek rights activist Azimjan Askarov also have nothing to do with the ethnic clashes.
Askarov and seven other ethnic Uzbeks were found guilty of organizing the ethnic clashes in Jalal-Abad and murder of a policeman and sentenced to life in prison on September 15 in a court in the nearby town of Nooken.