Kyrgyz journalist Bolot Temirov (file photo)
BISHKEK -- A court in Bishkek has adjourned a preliminary hearing into the high-profile case against investigative journalist Bolot Temirov on charges that he and his supporters call politically motivated.
Temirov and traditional bard singer Bolot Nazarov, who performed his anticorruption songs on the YouTube channel Temirov LIVE, were arrested in January for allegedly possessing illegal drugs, which the two men say were planted by police. Temirov's lawyer, Razak Ashimbaev, told RFE/RL that the Sverdlov district court on May 18 rejected his motion to find all charges against his client baseless and exclude what investigators call "evidence' from the trial. Ashimbaev says the drugs police claim they found in Temirov's belongings cannot be considered as evidence as there is no video or photos proving that they had not been planted. He added that the hearing was adjourned until May 25. In April, Bishkek city police came filed additional charges against Temirov, accusing him of forgery and illegally crossing the border with Russia. It said Temirov, who was born and raised in Russia and holds a Russian passport, used forged documents to obtain a Kyrgyz passport in 2008 and used it to illegally exit and enter Kyrgyzstan in recent years. The same court also started a separate preliminary hearing into the additional charges on May 18 and promptly adjourned it until May 20. Temirov has rejected all of the charges saying they were brought against him after he published results of his investigation suggesting corruption among top officials of the Central Asian nation.
Kyrgyz authorities have denied that probes against Temirov are politically motivated.
Temirov was among 12 people recognized by the U.S. State Department last year as anticorruption champions.