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Kyrgyz Officials Charged Over Radioactive Coal Scandal

Energy Minister Askarbek Shadiev has been charged with abuse of office.
BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan's energy minister and his deputy have been charged over their alleged involvement in the purchase of almost 9,000 tons of radioactive coal from neighboring Kazakhstan.

The Kyrgyz Prosecutor-General's Office told RFE/RL on March 13 that Energy Minister Askarbek Shadiev had been charged with "office abuse that led to mass rights violations of ordinary citizens."

The prosecutor said Shadiev's deputy, Kairat Jumaliev, had been charged with negligence.

The contaminated coal was supplied to Kyrgyzstan in September last year from the Qulan deposit in Kazakhstan.

Last month, Kyrgyz authorities announced that seven officials had been arrested over the decision to permit the coal to be imported and distributed to schools in Kyrgyzstan's northern Chui region.

The tainted coal was transferred back to Kazakhstan last month.