BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan – The president of Kyrgyzstan is lambasting the United States for honoring a jailed Kyrgyz journalist.
The U.S. State Department earlier this month conferred a share of its annual Human Rights Defender award to Azimzhan Askarov, an ethnic Uzbek journalist who is in prison for stirring up "ethnic hatred."
Kyrgyzstan last week dissolved a 1993 cooperation agreement with the United States, saying that Askarov is a dangerous criminal.
Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev told reporters on Monday that he views the award to Askarov as a "deliberate provocation aiming to flare up ethnic tensions" in the south of the country.
More than 400 people were killed and thousands displaced by clashes between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz in 2010.
Venezuelan human rights lawyer Foro Penal was co-winner of the award.