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Ethnic Uzbek Leader's Trial Resumes In Kyrgyzstan

Former Uzbek community leader Kadyrjan Batyrov is wanted for inciting interethnic hatred in the southern Kyrgyz districts of Jalal-Abad and Osh.
BISHKEK -- The trial of six ethnic Uzbeks charged in connection with last year's deadly violence in southern Kyrgyzstan resumed today in Bishkek, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Supreme Court spokesman Baktybek Rysaliev told journalists on September 16 that Kadyrjan Batyrov -- the fugitive leader of the Uzbek Cultural Center in the southern Kyrgyz province of Jalal-Abad -- and five of his subordinates have been charged with separatist propaganda, inciting interethnic hatred, and organizing clashes between local Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in Jalal-Abad and Osh in June 2010.

The whereabouts of the defendants is unknown. The trial, which started six months ago but has been postponed several times, is being held in absentia.

Batyrov, a businessman and former Kyrgyz parliament deputy, is the founder of the Peoples' Friendship University in Jalal-Abad, which was seriously damaged during the unrest.

In September 2010, Batyrov posted a video on YouTube in which he said he is not guilty of the charges against him.

At least 447 people were killed in last year's clashes and thousands more were injured and/or displaced. A few dozen are still missing.

Read more in Kyrgyz here