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Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court To Reconsider Ruling Against Rights Activist

Jailed rights activist Azimjan Askarov

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court has set July 11 as the date to reconsider its ruling against jailed human rights defender Azimjan Askarov.

The Supreme Court said on June 22 that its December 2011 decision was being reconsidered because of "new circumstances that appeared in the case."

In April, Supreme Court Chief Justice Ainash Tokbaeva said the decision to uphold Askarov's conviction by a lower court must be revised in order to comply with a call from the United Nations human rights office.

The UN agency said on April 21 that authorities in Bishkek should release Askarov, who has complained that the case against him was politically motivated.

Askarov, a Kyrgyz national of Uzbek origin, is serving a life sentence on charges that he helped organize clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan in 2010 between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz citizens that killed more than 450 people -- most of them ethnic Uzbeks.

Askarov also was convicted for involvement in the killing of a policeman during the violence.