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Kyrgyz justice system troubles HRW

Oct. 29, 2012 at 11:14 AM

BERLIN, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Human Rights Watch said life-in-prison sentences for ethnic Uzbeks tied to 2010 unrest in Kyrgyzstan reflect a miscarriage of justice.

Courts in Osh province in southern Kyrgyzstan sentenced two ethnic Uzbeks to life in prison for their role in ethnic violence in 2010. Both men were sentenced on murder charges in what Human Rights Watch said were unfair trials.

"It is a miscarriage of justice and reeks of revenge when defendants are sentenced to life in prison in unfair trials," Hugh Williamson, director of Central Asia programs at Human Rights Watch said in a statement from Berlin.

"Kyrgyzstan's authorities should immediately review these convictions and ensure that all the defendants' rights are upheld, especially their right to a fair and impartial trial."

Kyrgyzstan is reeling politically from a 2010 coup. Osh and Jalal Abab were the sites of violence between ethnic Uzbek and Kyrgyz communities after the coup. At least 400 people were killed in the fighting.

Three members of the opposition Ata-Jurt were arrested this month for allegedly trying to oust the government by force during recent protests. The government said it launched an investigation into a potential attempt to seize the country's White House.

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