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Supporters Of Kyrgyz Opposition Politicians Protest Convictions, Prison Terms

BISHKEK -- Lawyers and relatives of three Kyrgyz opposition politicians are protesting their convictions on charges of plotting to overthrow the government.

Attorneys and family members told journalists in Bishkek on April 18 that Ernest Karybekov, Kubanychbek Kadyrov, and Bektur Asanov would appeal their verdicts and long prison sentences handed down a day earlier.

A Bishkek court found the three politicians guilty of planning to seize power by force. Karybekov was sentenced to 20 years in prison, while Kadyrov and Asanov received prison sentences of 12 years.

A fourth politician, Dastan Sarygulov, was sentenced to four years in prison, of which three years were suspended.

The politicians were arrested and charged in March 2016, after an audio recording circulated on the Internet with voices discussing ways to overthrow the government.

Asanov told RFE/RL before his arrest that the tapes had been doctored and that they were posted on-line in "an attempt to blackmail the opposition."

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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