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Kyrgyzstan Stops Russian Rights Defender At The Border

Vitaly Ponomaryov
Vitaly Ponomaryov

Prominent Russian human rights activist Vitaly Ponomaryov has been denied permission to enter Kyrgyzstan from neighboring Kazakhstan.

Ponomaryov told RFE/RL that he was stopped by Kyrgyz border guards on July 9 and was not given any explanation for why he was not allowed to enter Kyrgyzstan.

Ponomayov had been in Kyrgyzstan just the previous week. He arrived in Bishkek on June 29 and attended a conference on extremism in the Kyrgyz capital on July 1-3.

On July 4, he left by road for the Kazakh capital, Astana and was on his way back to Bishkek when he was stopped.

Ponomaryov says his personal belongings remain in Bishkek and he is scheduled to fly from Bishkek to Moscow on July 10. He remains at the Kazakh-Kyrgyz border checkpoint.

The Kyrgyz Border Guard Service and the State Committee for National Security declined to comment on the situation.

The chairwoman of the Bishkek-based Kylym Shamy (Torch of the Century) human rights organization, Aziza Abdyrasulova, told RFE/RL on July 10 that rights activists had officially urged Kyrgyz ombudsman Kubat Otorbaev to look into the situation.