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Prominent Uzbek Community Leader's Appeal Hearing Adjourned

Former Uzbek community leader Kadyrjon Batyrov Jalal-Abad in April 2010
Former Uzbek community leader Kadyrjon Batyrov Jalal-Abad in April 2010
JALAL-ABAD, Kyrgyzstan -- The appeal of a prominent ethnic Uzbek community leader in Kyrgyzstan has been adjourned so that former Kyrgyz officials could testify in court, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Kadyrjan Batyrov was tried in absentia by the Jalal-Abad city court in October and sentenced to life in jail for separatist propaganda, inciting interethnic hatred, and organizing clashes between local Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in the southern Jalal-Abad and Osh regions in June 2010.

His lawyers appealed the ruling and the Jalal-Abad Oblast court began hearings on Batyrov's appeal on December 7.

Supreme Court spokesman Baktybek Rysaliev told RFE/RL that at the December 22 hearings, Judge Amangeldi Moldobaev ruled that the former governor of Jalal-Abad Oblast, Bektur Asanov, and regional deputy governors Taigojo Giyazov and Asylbek Tekebaev should testify.

It was also announced in court that the recordings of televised speeches by Batyrov and co-defendant Inomjon Abdurasulov -- who was also sentenced to life in prison -- that were broadcast by Osh-TV and Mezon-TV during the ethnic clashes in mid-June of 2010, would be played at the trial's next session on December 28.

All six co-defendants were tried in absentia. Batyrov, who denies any wrongdoing, obtained refugee status in Sweden in November. The others' whereabouts are unknown.

Batyrov, a businessman and former Kyrgyz parliament deputy, is the founder of the Peoples' Friendship University in Jalal-Abad, which was badly damaged during last year's unrest.

At least 447 people were killed in the clashes and thousands more injured and/or displaced. A few dozen are still missing. The majority of the victims were ethnic Uzbeks.

Read more in Kyrgyz here