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Kyrgyz Court Hears Case Against President

BISHKEK -- A court in Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek, has begun hearing a lawsuit filed by prominent human rights defenders against President Almazbek Atambaev.

Rights activists Tolekan Ismailova and Aziza Abdyrasulova are both calling for public apologies and payments of 2 million soms ($29,300) in damages from Atambaev for publicly calling the two women "saboteurs" in May.

Ismailova's group, Bir Duino -- Kyrgyzstan (One World -- Kyrgyzstan) and Abdyrasulova's Kylym Shamy (Torch of the Century) have criticized the Kyrgyz authorities for failing to review criminal cases linked to deadly clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in southern Kyrgyzstan in 2010.

The group has also strongly criticized a move by the authorities last month to seize a home belonging to Azimjan Askarov, an ethnic Uzbek political activist serving a life sentence after being convicted on charges linked to the ethnic clashes.

Askarov has insisted the case is politically motivated.

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