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Kyrgyz Opposition Activist Who Challenged Constitutional Changes Gets 18 Months In Prison

Tilekmat Kudaibergenov
Tilekmat Kudaibergenov

BISHKEK -- An organizer of March rallies against Kyrgyzstan's constitutional amendments has been sentenced to 18 months in prison on a charge of calling to seize power by force.

Bishkek's Sverdlov district court on August 20 sentenced Tilekmat Kudaibergenov (aka Kurenov), who reiterated his innocence after his sentence was pronounced.

Kudaibergenov was arrested in mid-March and later transferred to house arrest.

Before his detention, police searched his home and the office of the Against KHANstitution movement that opposed the amendments initiated by President Sadyr Japarov.

Kudaibergenov is one the organizers of March 9 rallies in Bishkek against the amendments that ended up being approved in a nationwide referendum on April 11.

Critics have said that the constitutional amendments that very much increased presidential powers helped Japarov to consolidate power.

Kudaibergenov is a noted activist also known as a founder and a leader of a movement against granting concessions for the Jetim-Too iron ore field near the Chinese border to foreign investors.