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Former Kyrgyz Defense Minister Transferred To House Arrest

Former Kyrgyz Defense Minister Baktybek Kalyev
Former Kyrgyz Defense Minister Baktybek Kalyev
BISHKEK -- Former Kyrgyz Defense Minister Baktyek Kalyev has been transferred from a detention center to house arrest due to health reasons, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Kalyev is one of 28 former officials, including former President Kurmanbek Bakiev, on trial over the deaths of antigovernment protesters in the popular uprising that swept Bakiev from power in April last year.

Kyrgyzstan's interim government arrested Kalyev, 45, that month for his alleged role in giving the command to open fire on pro-opposition protesters on April 7 during clashes between protesters and police and security forces in Bishkek.

Almost 100 people were killed and hundreds injured in the clashes.

Investigators later found $5.8 million allegedly belonging to Kalyev in the AziaUniversalBank.

Kalyev's lawyer, Ruslan Dalaev, told RFE/RL that his client was transferred to house arrest on August 9 because of poor health. He said Kalyev suffers from diabetes and heart problems.

Some 60 members of parliament appealed earlier this year to the Supreme Court to transfer Kalyev to house arrest because of his deteriorating health.

Kalyev and his codefendants are accused of either having fired upon or giving the command to open fire on unarmed demonstrators outside the main government building in Bishkek.

Many of the defendants are in detention or under house arrest. But Bakiev and several others -- most of them his close relatives -- are being tried in absentia.

The ousted president is living in Belarus at the invitation of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

The trial has been adjourned several times and had to be postponed early on because of scuffles in the courtroom in which some relatives of protesters who had been killed threatened the defendants, their lawyers, and members of their families.

Read more in Kyrgyz here: