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Kyrgyz Court Sends Two Tajiks To Prison For Life Over Deadly Ethnic Clashes

According to the relatives, the trial was held behind closed doors. (file photo)

A court in Kyrgyzstan has handed life sentences to two Tajik nationals over deadly ethnic clashes that erupted earlier this year near a disputed segment of the Kyrgyz-Tajik border.

Relatives of Abduroziq Qahhorov and Askar Yunusov told RFE/RL on September 15 that the two men were found guilty a day earlier of looting and committing crimes against the peace in Kyrgyzstan's southern region of Batken and sentenced a day earlier.

According to the relatives, the trial was held behind closed doors at the Leilek district court. Tajik authorities have yet to comment on the court's rulings.

The court is currently trying three Kyrgyz citizens of Tajik origin on charges of high treason, illegal border crossing, and illegal drug trafficking. The charges also stem from the deadly clashes near the border in late April, during which 36 Kyrgyz citizens and 19 Tajik nationals were killed and dozens more injured on both sides.

Authorities from the neighboring countries have blamed each other for the conflict.

Many border areas in Central Asia have been disputed since the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991.

The situation is particularly complicated near the numerous exclaves in the volatile Ferghana Valley, where the borders of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan meet.