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Kyrgyzstan opens criminal cases following ethnic rioting

The Kyrgyzstan government announced Friday that it has opened more than 1,000 criminal cases stemming from recent ethnic rioting in the country [Guardian backgrounder]. Regional officials in Osh, an area in the south of Kyrgyzstan, announced that 106 individuals had already been detained [ITAR-TASS report], with 97 in custody. The violence resulted from a clash between the Kyrgyz majority and the Uzbek minority and resulted in the deaths of 309 people, with an additional 2,000 reportedly injured. Property damage estimates exceed $71 million. The interim government under President Roza Otunbayeva [Telegraph profile] has extended a curfew and state of emergency [UPI report] in the area until August.

A new constitution took effect in Kyrgyzstan last week after it was approved by voters [JURIST reports] in a nationwide referendum. In June, the interim government under Otunbayeva announced the referendum to reform the country's constitution would occur despite the ethnic violence [JURIST report] in Osh. A draft of that constitution was originally approved by the interim government [JURIST report] in May. The June rioting in Osh followed violent protests in the capital city of Bishkek in April that resulted in former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev being removed from office [JURIST report].

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