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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Kyrgyzstan Under Fire

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Kyrgyzstan came under renewed fire from the West on Thursday over reports that Uzbek refugees who fled to its territory to escape a bloody crackdown by troops in Uzbekistan were being abducted and returned home.

The United Nations believes Uzbek refugees may face torture and execution at home. Kyrgyzstan this month drew a storm of criticism when it extradited five Uzbeks. International organizations say more refugees have been seized since then.

"The United States is very concerned by reports that two officially registered Uzbek refugees were forcibly removed from their homes in Osh, Kyrgyzstan," the U.S. embassy in Bishkek said in a statement. (Reuters)

Journalist on Trial

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan -- Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty said on Wednesday that one of its correspondents would soon go on trial in Turkmenistan along with two human rights activists.

The U.S.-funded broadcaster, which offers the only Turkmen-language alternative to the country's state-controlled radio, said on its web site that charges against Ogulsapar Muradova were unclear.

"Muradova has been detained without charge and has had no access to legal counsel, which Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's acting president, Jeff Trimble, has condemned as a violation of Turkmen and international law," it said. (Reuters)

Physicist Won't Appeal

Ufa-based physicist Oskar Kaibyshev will not appeal his conviction on charges of exporting dual-use technology to South Korea, Interfax reported Thursday.

Kaibyshev, the suspended director of the Institute for Metal Superplasticity Problems, received a six-year suspended sentence and was ordered to pay 3.52 million rubles ($132,000) to his former institute in Ufa.

Kaibyshev said at the time that he had no idea how he would pay the fine. (MT)

Autopsy Ready in 10 Days

MINSK, Belarus -- Results of an autopsy on a Lithuanian diplomat who was found dead in Belarus will not be available for at least a week, authorities said Thursday.

The body of Vytautas Pociunas was found outside a hotel in the western city of Brest on Wednesday, and Belarussian officials said they believed he fell out a window.

There was no sign of foul play, prosecutor's office spokesman Andrei Shved said, but the autopsy results would be ready in a week to 10 days. He said the body would be handed over to Lithuanian authorities Friday. (AP)

Dog Owners Accountable

The Yabloko faction in the City Duma plans to introduce a bill to the State Duma that would hold dog owners accountable when their dogs attack human beings, Interfax reported Thursday.

Faction leader Sergei Mitrokhin also called for obligatory registration of all domestic animals, without which legal measures were "simply senseless."

Mitrokhin said all animals sold in the city should be equipped with special microchips containing information about their owners. (MT)

Remembering Beslan

North Ossetia will commemorate the second anniversary of the Beslan school siege with a three-day period of mourning beginning Sept. 1, Interfax reported Thursday.

In Beslan itself, the mourning period will extend to Sept. 5. On Sept. 3, 332 white balloons will be released over School No. 1 at 1:05 p.m., the time of the first explosion that prompted security forces to storm the school.

On Sept. 1, 2004, about 30 armed assailants seized more than 1,100 children, parents and staff in School No. 1, herding them into the gymnasium. The seige ended three days later. To date, 332 people have died as a result of the siege. (MT)

Four Soldiers Killed

An explosion in Grozny killed four servicemen and wounded one other Thursday, Russian news agencies reported.

Officials suggested the blast was likely an accident caused by mishandling of explosives.

The blast occurred in the Chechen capital within a unit of Interior Ministry forces and the victims were Interior Ministry servicemen, Interfax reported, citing deputy regional prosecutor Nikolai Kalugin.

Itar-Tass, citing unidentified military prosecutors in southern Russia, said authorities believed servicemen were dismantling an anti-personnel mine when it exploded. (AP)

Chechen Reported Missing

GROZNY -- An international media watchdog group expressed concern Thursday for a missing newspaper reporter in Chechnya, who it said had been abducted.

Yelina Yersenoyeva, a reporter for the daily Chechenskoye Obshchestvo, or Chechen Society, was abducted by gunmen who put a bag over her head and bundled her into a car on a street in the center of Chechnya's capital, Grozny, on Aug. 17, Reporters Without Borders said, citing witnesses.

Her aunt was also seized, but was released hours later, the group said.

"We call on the Chechen and Russian authorities to do everything possible to get [Yersenoyeva] freed as soon as possible," the organization said in a statement. (AP)

Jordan Criticizes Moscow

AMMAN, Jordan -- Jordan's parliament on Wednesday criticized Russia for placing the Muslim Brotherhood on its list of international terror organizations and urged it to retract the decision.

Russia's list of 17 international terrorist organizations, issued in July, did not specifically refer to Jordan's branch of the Brotherhood, a legal entity with a political wing, the Islamic Action Front, that has a minority in the parliament.

The list did not indicate where the groups listed were based -- an important consideration in the case of the Brotherhood, which has branches in several countries. (AP)

Narrowing the Field

Opponents of United Russia are being prevented from contesting the upcoming regional parliamentary election in the Sverdlovsk region, the Internet news site reported on Thursday.

Candidates from the liberal Yabloko party and the pro-Kremlin Party of Life were among those turned away by the regional elections commission in Yekaterinburg.

Formal warnings for campaign violations were issued to three other parties. (MT)