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Kyrgyzstan Says Kyrgyz Man's Rights Violated In Iranian Jail

Kyrgyz Ombudsman Tursunbek Akun
Kyrgyz Ombudsman Tursunbek Akun
BISHKEK -- The Kyrgyz ombudsman's office said on June 1 that a Kyrgyz citizen has been held in Iran's notorious Evin prison since 2009, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Ulmaz Mamatkhanov, 29, from the southern Kyrgyz region of Jalal-Abad, was arrested two years ago at Mashhad International Airport as he was about to fly to Bishkek.

He was subsequently found guilty of espionage and sentenced to 20 years in jail.

Kyrgyz Ombudsman Tursunbek Akun found out about Mamatkhanov's ordeal during a recent visit to Iran.

Akun discussed Mamatkhanov's case with Iranian officials and spoke to Mamatkhanov by phone.

Mamatkhanov told Akun he was not present in the courtroom when his trial was held, that he considers himself innocent, and that he was just an ordinary businessman who had no ties to the intelligence service of Kyrgyzstan or any other country.

Staff at the ombudsman's office say Akun has criticized the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry for not making Mamatkhanov's case public knowledge.

Akun and his assistants are currently trying to help Mamatkhanov make contact with his relatives in Kyrgyzstan.

Read more in Kyrgyz here