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Kyrgyz Deputy Premier To Sue Businessman For Libel

Kyrgyz First Deputy Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov
BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz First Deputy Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov has vowed to sue a well-known businessman for libel and to "defend his dignity and honor," RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Babanov told journalists in Bishkek on March 22 that he must take legal action against Valery Khon in light of statements Khon has made about him in the past year.

Khon, who is an ethnic Korean and former member of parliament, has called Babanov "a liar who has taken over other people's property by force and who engages in dirty and illegal business."

Khon claims he can substantiate his charges in court.

In July, Khon was beaten by unknown assailants in Bishkek. He identified Babanov as being behind the attack. Babanov has denied any involvement in the incident.

Babanov, the head of the coalition member Respublika party, said his lawyers are preparing the necessary documents to file a libel suit against Khon.

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