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Kyrgyz President Asks Prosecutors To Drop Lawsuits Against RFE/RL


Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev has asked the Prosecutor-General's Office to drop its defamation lawsuits against RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, known locally as Azattyk (Liberty).

In a statement on May 12, Atambaev's press service said he had proposed that prosecutors withdraw the lawsuits. The statement underscored what it said was Kyrgyzstan's "adherence to the fundamental principles of freedom of speech and respect for responsible journalism."

"RFE/RL is pleased at the decision to drop the lawsuits against our Kyrgyz Service," RFE/RL President Thomas Kent said. "Radio Azattyk plays an important part in Kyrgyzstan’s media. We look forward to continuing our mission to provide accurate, independent coverage of the news in that nation."

The Prosecutor-General's Office filed the lawsuits after Atambaev accused RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service of slander over reports about allegations made by the opposition Ata-Meken (Fatherland) party following the arrest of its leader, Omurbek Tekebaev, in late February.

The statement from Atambaev's office made no mention of the independent Kyrgyz news sites Zanoza.kg, and 24.kg, which were also sued on similar grounds.

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