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Jailed Kyrgyz Rights Activist's Paintings Shown In Bishkek

A two-day exhibition of paintings by jailed rights defender Azimjan Askarov has opened in Bishkek.

Askat Dukenbaev, the chief of the rights watchdog Freedom House in Bishkek, told RFE/RL on June 25 that the exhibition "Before and After Imprisonment" is devoted to the international Support of Victims of Torture Day, which is marked on June 26 each year.

Askarov, a Kyrgyz citizen of Uzbek origin, is the leader of the rights group Vozdukh (Air).

He is serving a life sentence for his role in organizing the deadly 2010 clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in southern Kyrgyzstan and for his involvement in the murder of a policeman during the violence.

More than 450 people, mostly ethnic Uzbeks, were killed in the clashes.

Askarov insists he is innocent and says his conviction is an act of "retaliation" for his human rights activism.

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

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