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Head Of Commission On Kyrgyz Violence Declared Persona Non Grata

Finnish politician Kimmo Kiljunen, who headed an inquiry commission into ethnic unrest in Kyrgyystan last year.
BISHKEK -- The Kyrgyz parliament has declared as "persona non grata" the head of an international commission that investigated last year's deadly interethnic clashes in the south of the country, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The move against Kimmo Kiljunen came in a resolution adopted by lawmakers today after a deputy accused the Finnish politician of accepting bribes from Uzbek separatists while working on his commission's report.

The Kyrgyzstan Inquiry Commission presented its report earlier this month on the clashes that left some 470 people dead in June 2010 in the southern Osh and Jalal-Abad regions.

It said some attacks on Uzbek communities might qualify as crimes against humanity, and suggested Kyrgyz government forces may have been complicit in the violence.

On May 25, lawmaker Kanybek Imanaliev told the parliament that "some media outlets in Finland report that Kiljunen took bribes from Uzbek separatist leaders in Kyrgyzstan" to make the commission's report on the clashes "one-sided."

Kiljunen has dismissed that accusation as "a lie."

"That must be a joke," he said. "It is not true. I have not received anything from Uzbekistan or any other [country or side.]"

Kiljunen added that he received only legal monetary remuneration for his work as commission chairman from the Crisis Management Initiative, a Finnish NGO engaged in conflict resolution.

In its initial reaction to the May 3 report, the Kyrgyz government rejected it as unacceptable and one-sided, saying it displays an "overwhelming tendency that only one ethnic group has committed crimes, ignoriHead Of Commission On Kyrgyz Violence Declared 'Persona Non Grata'
ng the victims and deaths of this group."

A government statement said the report unfairly portrays ethnic Uzbeks as "defenseless victims."

Read more in Kyrgyz here and here