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Two Kyrgyz Rights Activists Arrested In Osh

Rights activist Aziza Abdrasulova
Rights activist Aziza Abdrasulova
OSH, Kyrgyzstan -- Two Kyrgyz human rights activists have been detained and questioned by the Osh Prosecutor-General's Office, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Aziza Abdrasulova, director of the nongovernmental organization (NGO) Torch of the Century, told RFE/RL that she and Tolekan Ismailova, chairwoman of the NGO Citizens Against Corruption, were arrested on June 28 due to a typographical error made in transcribing interviews they gave to a local media outlet.

The two were discussing the number of victims in the Nariman district of Osh after a raid by Kyrgyz government troops. They said that two people in Nariman were killed and 39 wounded, but Abdrusalova told RFE/RL that one of the media outlets falsely wrote 20 instead of two and published the mistaken number.

Due to the typo, the rights activists were accused of disseminating false information.

Ismailova said they were released from the Osh prosecutor's office after being interrogated for three hours. They were also asked questions as witnesses to some criminal cases of mass murder and mass disorder.

She said Kyrgyz interim government head Roza Otunbaeva called the two activists and asked them what had happened.

Ismailova told RFE/RL that a group of human rights activists working in southern Kyrgyzstan is running into obstacles from local authorities during their work in registering human rights violations and other crimes in the region.

At least 275 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of people, mainly ethnic Uzbeks, fled their homes when ethnic fighting broke out between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in the southern cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad on June 10.