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Bakiev Trial Adjourned After Walkout By Lawyers


Judge Damir Onolbekov chairs the trial of former high-ranking Kyrgyz officials in Bishkek.

BISHKEK -- A high-profile trial of former Kyrgyz officials has been adjourned after a walkout by lawyers for relatives of the victims of last year's antigovernment uprising, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The trial of 28 former top officials -- including ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiev -- resumed today after a four-month break.

Bakiev and his former associates are accused of having fired upon, or given the command to open fire at, unarmed protesters in Bishkek on April 7 during antigovernment demonstrations that led to Bakiev's ouster. At least 86 people were killed and hundreds of others were injured.

The defendants are all under house detention, with the exception of Bakiev -- who is living in Belarus -- and several other defendants, who are being tried in absentia.

The trial was adjourned after Judge Damir Onolbekov refused a request by lawyers for the victims' relatives to hold the defendants in custody for the duration of the trial.

The victims' lawyers and relatives all left the courtroom to protest the judge's decision. Onolbekov then postponed the hearings until March 23.

The trial started in November in the Sports Palace in Bishkek but has been adjourned several times following rowdy scenes in which some relatives of victims of the uprising threatened the defendants, their lawyers, and family members.

RFE/RL's correspondent reports that at least 300 police and Interior Ministry troops were present in the courtroom to keep order.

Read more in Kyrgyz here