Retrial for journalist gets underway in Kyrgyzstan

A court in Kyrgyzstan has begun a retrial for an ethnic Uzbek journalist jailed for life for stirring up ethnic hatred in a case which has drawn international criticism.

Azimzhan Askarov's case was sent for review earlier this year after the U.N. Human Rights Committee in April urged Kyrgyzstan to release him, finding that he had been arbitrarily detained, tortured and denied his right to a fair trial. International rights groups consider Askarov a prisoner of conscience.

Askarov pleaded not guilty to the charges as hearings opened at the regional court in the capital Bishkek on Tuesday.

The charges relate to ethnic unrest in the south of Kyrgyzstan in 2010 when more than 450 people, mostly ethnic Uzbeks, were killed.