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Kyrgyzstan: Court Releases Writer Accused of Offending Muslims

A court in Kyrgyzstan has released a writer previously jailed on charges of incitement to religious hatred, downgrading his four-year jail term to a suspended sentence.

The Bishkek city court ruling on September 29 means Zulpukar Sapanov will go free, but will have to serve out a two-year suspended sentence.

Earlier in the month, Sapanov was found guilty of having offended religious sensibilities in his historical treatise, Kydyr Sanzhyrasy, or “Genealogy of the Forefather Kydyr,” which proposed that Allah was a demon and that the Kyrgyz people were descended from the likely mythical holy man after whom the book is named.

When Kydyr Sanzhyrasy was first published, with a print run of around 1,000 copies, it drew negligible attention. Outrage only broke out when excerpts were republished in some local Kyrgyz-language newspapers, which drew the anger of representatives at the country’s mainstream Islamic authority, the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Kyrgyzstan, or DUMK.

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Kyrgyzstan: Court Releases Writer Accused of Offending Muslims

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