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Trial Of Former Kyrgyz President, Other Officials To Resume

Spectators during a November 17 court session held in a Bishkek sports arena react during the trial.
BISHKEK -- A high-profile trial of 28 former top Kyrgyz officials -- including ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiev -- is scheduled to resume on March 18, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Supreme Court spokesman Baktybek Rysaliev told RFE/RL that the trial will be held at the Department for Penitentiary System Control building in Bishkek.

Rysaliev said that for security reasons, the trial will be open only for selected people. He added that it will be conducted by the Bishkek garrison's military court.

Bakiev and his former associates went on trial last year on charges that they fired upon, or gave the command to open fire at unarmed protesters in Bishkek on April 7 during antigovernment demonstrations that led to Bakiev's ouster.

The former president -- who is living in Belarus -- and several other defendants, including one of his brothers and his eldest son, are being tried in absentia.

The trial started in November in the Sports Palace in Bishkek but has been adjourned several times since then following rowdy scenes in which some relatives of victims of the uprising have threatened the defendants, their lawyers, and family members.

In late November, the Bishkek garrison military court ruled that the case should be sent back to the prosecutor's office for additional investigation. After a bomb explosion near the Sports Palace on November 30, the trial was suspended.

At least 86 people were killed and hundreds of others injured during the April 7 clashes in Bishkek.

About a dozen protesters started a hunger strike in Kyrgyzstan's northern city of Naryn today, demanding that all those responsible for the killing of protesters on April 7 be punished.

Read more in Kyrgyz here