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Lawyer At High-Profile Kyrgyz Trial 'Threatened' In Court

Former Uzbek community leader Kadyrjon Batyrov is on trial in absentia.
Former Uzbek community leader Kadyrjon Batyrov is on trial in absentia.
BISHKEK -- A lawyer in a high-profile trial connected to last year's deadly ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan has reportedly been threatened in court, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Nazgul Suyunbaeva is representing a prominent Uzbek community leader and five other ethnic Uzbeks charged with separatist propaganda, inciting interethnic hatred, and organizing clashes between local Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in Jalal-Abad and Osh in June 2010.

Kadyrjon Batyrov, the fugitive community leader, and his co-defendants are being tried in absentia in Jalal-Abad.

Representatives of the Advocacy Center Information Service, a Bishkek-based NGO that monitors the judicial system, told journalists that Suyunbaeva was threatened on October 4 by several women called as witnesses in the case.

According to the Advocacy Center, the women yelled threats at Suyunbaeva in the presence of the judge. Suyunbaeva's relatives expressed concern for her safety.

Batyrov, a businessman and former Kyrgyz parliament deputy, is the founder of the Peoples' Friendship University in Jalal-Abad, which was seriously damaged during last year's unrest.

In September 2010, Batyrov posted a video on YouTube in which he said he was not guilty of the charges against him.

The whereabouts of the defendants is not known.

At least 447 people were killed in last year's clashes and thousands more injured and/or displaced. A few dozen are still missing.

Read more in Kyrgyz here