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Kyrgyz Opposition Leaders' Trial Starts, Adjourns To Replace Judge

Opposition deputies Kamchybek Tashiev, Sadyr Japarov, and Talant Mamytov (left to right) in the dock at the start of their trial in Bishkek on January 10.
BISHKEK -- A trial has begun of three opposition members of the Kyrgyz parliament facing charges of sedition.

The proceedings were quickly adjourned, however, after presiding judge Abdyrazak Borombaev heard defense lawyers argue that the judge had personal contact with one of the defendants in the past that might prejudice his hearing of the case.

Borombaev's adjournment was indefinite and meant to allow authorities to replace him on the case.

Kamchybek Tashiev, Sadyr Japarov, and Talant Mamytov -- who are leaders of the opposition Ata-Jurt (Homeland) party -- and four of their supporters have been charged with provoking public unrest and attempting to overthrow the government.

In October, the three opposition leaders organized violent antigovernment protests by about 1,000 demonstrators in front of the parliament building in Bishkek.

Tashiev pleaded not guilty before the adjournment.

Dozens of the defendants' supporters demonstrated outside the court building.