Court sentences Kyrgyzstan's ex-president in absentia to life for violently dispersing rally

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A former president of Kyrgyzstan has been convicted and sentenced in absentia to life in prison for his role in violently breaking up an opposition rally, resulting in 77 deaths.

The Supreme Court in this Central Asian nation on Friday found Kurmanbek Bakiyev guilty of orchestrating the response to street protests in April 2010.

Bakiyev was ousted in the mass uprising stoked by indignation over a stagnant economy and rampant corruption. He fled the country and has been living in Belarus.

Following a trial that lasted nearly four years, the court handed down verdicts in absentia for six out of the 21 defendants. Bakiyev's brother, Zhanybek Bakiyev, a former head of the State Security Service who now lives in Belarus, also drew a life sentence.