BISHKEK. Kyrgyz opposition members are criticizing a verdict on several former officials charged with responsibility for the death of some participants of the peaceful gathering in the Aksy district in March. Head of the Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Movement, Tursunbek Akun, said the court verdict was passed in a hurry, without inviting enough witnesses to the hearing in the town of Maily-Suu, and some plaintiffs could not go to the town from the Aksy district.
A leader of the opposition 'Asaba' (Flag) National Revival Party, MP Azimbek Beknazarov told today RFERL that the verdict was designed to free the officials under the law on amnesty: "This is a cheating of the (Aksy) community, the people. This is kind of judiciary's justice, beforehand planned by the authorities. President Askar Akayev twice met with the relatives of the victims and promised them to bring those responsible for the killings to justice. Now about 9 months have passed. We are on the eve of the New Year. But, Askar Akaev did not keep his promise."
Yesterday the Osh military court handed down verdicts in the trial of several former officials involved with the death of the protesters in the Aksy district of the Jalal-Abad region on March 17-18, 2002. At least five people were killed when police fired on a crowd of protesters who were demonstrating in support of the then jailed politician, MP Azimbek Beknazarov. He was freed from jail on March 19, 2002.
The Osh city military court found the former prosecutor of the Jalal-Abad region, Zootbek Kudaibergenov, and the former head of the region's police, Kubanychbek Tokobayev, guilty of exceeding their authority (according to the clause 305 of the Criminal code) and sentenced both of them to three years in jail. Former deputy head of the Jalal-Abad regional police Abdimital Kalbayev and former prosecutor of the Aksy district Abdykalyk Kaldarov, were each sentenced to two years in jail for interfering with a public gathering (in accordance with the clause 148 of the Criminal code).
The court found three other people -- the former head of the Aksy district administration, Shermamat Osmonov, the former head of the investigation department of the Jalal-Abad regional police, Alik Rakishev, and the former head of the Aksy district police, Daniyar Kuluev, innocent of the charges against them. Ombudsman of Kyrgyzstan, Tursunbai Bakir-uulu said today that if the plaintiffs will apply to him on the verdicts, than he is ready to help in asking investigation of every point of the disputed verdicts regarded by the plaintiffs as unfair.