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Prominent Uzbek Rights Defender in Southern Kyrgyzstan Dies

Ravshan Gapirov in July 2013
Ravshan Gapirov in July 2013

Ravshan Gapirov, a prominent Uzbek human rights activist in Kyrgyzstan, has died at the age of 59 following a lengthy illness.

Gapirov's relatives told RFE/RL that he died on September 1 in his native city of Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan.

The founder of the Justice-Truth nongovernmental organization, Gapirov was known for his efforts to protect the rights of ethnic Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan.

He was instrumental in bringing to light cases of human rights abuses and legal violations by local authorities during 2010 ethnic clashes between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in Kyrgyzstan's Osh and Jalal-Abad regions.

Authorities in Kyrgyzstan convicted Gapirov of "inciting ethnic hatred" several times, but he was fully exonerated in 2008.

Last year, he won a lawsuit against the Kyrgyz police and received $8,300 as compensation from law enforcement authorities for moral damage.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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