17 sentenced over Kyrgyz ethnic violence

A court in southern Kyrgyzstan has sentenced 17 people to life in jail for mass killings and rioting during ethnic violence that wracked the region in June.

Judge Damirbek Nazarov ruled Wednesday the men killed 16 people on the highway linking the south with the Central Asian nation's capital, Bishkek.

All defendants in the trial that ended Tuesday were ethnic Uzbeks. The ruling will arouse fresh fears that the community is being singled out for prosecution over the violence that killed 370 people.

International rights activists largely agree the Uzbek minority sustained the bulk of the violence.