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Jailed Former Kyrgyz Minister Starts Hunger Strike To Protest Conviction

Former Kyrgyz Social Protection Minister Ravshan Sabirov (file photo)
BISHKEK -- Former Kyrgyz Social Protection Minister Ravshan Sabirov has started a hunger strike one week after his conviction on corruption charges.

Sabirov was sentenced on March 7 to five years in prison.

On the same day, the Bishkek City Court also sentenced Sabirov’s former deputy, Takhir Mirzakhmedov, to three years in prison.

Both were found guilty of accepting bribes in connection with arranging the adoptions of Kyrgyz children by foreign nationals.

Sabirov's lawyer, Ikramiddin Aitkulov, told RFE/RL on March 14 that his client started a hunger strike in prison to protest his conviction.

Sabirov, an ethnic Tajik, served as social protection minister from December 2011 until his arrest last summer.

In their first trial in November 2012, Sabirov was acquitted and Mirzakhmedov was sentenced to six years in prison, but the Prosecutor-General's Office appealed the court's decision.