Wednesday, July 04, 2012 -
A Kyrgyz judge imposed on Tuesday a huge $1,100 fine on an independent journalist for inciting ethnic hatred, but stopped short of handing out a jail sentence.
The district court judge in Kyrgyzstan’s capital city Bishkek charged Vladimir Farafonov with “insulting the Kyrgyz people and propagating ethnic discord,” the local independent news agency 24.kg reported.
Judge Almazbek Moldobaev declined the request by prosecutors to jail the ethnic Russian blogger and journalist for eight years over the conviction.
Farafonov refused to attend the court hearing over worries for his safety.
The case was brought against Farafonov on the basis of complaints by readers of his blog.
Kyrgyzstan is still highly volatile after bloodletting between ethnic Kyrgyz and minority Uzbek communities in summer 2010 left more than 400 people dead.
Despite evidence of ongoing rights abuses against ethnic minority citizens, the former Soviet republic has made some political headway to distance itself from the bloody phase of turmoil by establishing the first parliamentary democracy in Central Asia.