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Kyrgyz Court Shuts Down Television Channel On Extremism Charges

BISHKEK -- A court in Kyrgyzstan has ordered the closure of the private TV channel Sentyabr (September) after ruling that it broadcast extremist content.

The Birinchi Mai District Court in Bishkek ruled on August 22 that the digital television channel, which is known for its criticism of President Almazbek Atambaev, must stop operations both online and on air.

Representatives of Sentyabr said they had not been told about the case until they were informed of the August 22 hearing shortly before it began.

The Prosecutor-General's Office accused the channel of airing an interview with the former chief of police in the southern Osh region, Abdylda Kaparov, that insulted then-Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov and his brother, lawmaker Asylbek Jeenbekov.

Kaparov alleged in the 2016 interview that the Jeenbekov brothers might have used $3 million in state funds to instigate deadly ethnic clashes in Osh between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in 2010.

Jeenbekov resigned on August 21 to focus on his campaign for the October 15 presidential election in the Central Asian country.

Atambaev is constitutionally barred from seeking reelection.