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Interpreter Replaced In Trial Of Former Kyrgyz President

The trial initially began in November in a local sports arena, although it was moved after repeated outbursts interrupted proceedings.
BISHKEK -- The judge in the trial of former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev and 27 of his former associates has ruled that the Kyrgyz-Russian interpreter being used in the case should be replaced, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Bakiev and the others are accused of either having fired upon or given the command to open fire on unarmed protesters in Bishkek during the antigovernment protests in April 2010 that led to Bakiev's ouster. Nearly 90 people were killed and hundreds injured in the incident.

The defendants' lawyers demanded earlier in the day that interpreter Larisa Usubalieva be replaced. They said her command of Kyrgyz and Russian was inadequate to translate testimony in such a serious and complicated case.

Judge Damir Onolbekov agreed, making Usubalieva the seventh interpreter to be replaced since the trial resumed on March 18 after a four-month break.

Many of the defendants are jailed or under house arrest, except for Bakiev and several others -- most of them his close relatives -- who are being tried in absentia.

Bakiev is currently living in Belarus at the invitation of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

The trial began in November but was adjourned several times following rowdy scenes in which some relatives of those killed threatened the defendants, their lawyers, or family members.

An RFE/RL correspondent reports that 145 surviving victims have testified so far.

The next hearing is scheduled for June 13.

Read more in Kyrgyz here