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Kyrgyz Protesters Want Release Of Police Held For Man's Death

BAZAR-KORGON, Kyrgyzstan -- Some 200 protesters blocked the Osh-Bishkek highway in southern Kyrgyzstan on October 18 to demand the release of four policemen detained in connection with the death of a Russian citizen, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

The protesters want the four men, who are currently in a detention center in the northern town of Sokuluk, transferred to house arrest.

A preliminary hearing in the case on October 5 rejected that demand.

The protest was the third so far this month by relatives and supporters of the four policemen.

On October 3, at least 400 protesters blocked the highway to demand their release from custody.

On October 6, some 100 protesters gathered near the highway and demanded that the men be interrogated and tried either in their native town of Bazar-Korgon or in the regional capital, Jalal-Abad.

The trial is scheduled to start on October 19 in the northern town of Sokuluk.

The four police officers have been charged with torture, abuse of office, and extortion in connection with the August death of Usmanjan Kholmirzaev, an ethnic Uzbek and Russian citizen.

Kholmirzaev died in a Jalal-Abad hospital on August 9, two days after being questioned by Bazar-Korgon district police about the deadly clashes between local Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in June last year.

The autopsy report said Kholmirzaev died of serious injuries, namely fractured ribs and damage to his internal organs.

Bazar-Korgon police chief Ernist Moldokeev was fired in August in the wake of Kholmirzaev's death.

Read more in Kyrgyz here