International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights Vice President Ulrich Fischer was allowed by Kyrgyz authorities to meet with the country's most prominent political prisoner, Feliks Kulov, on 4 February, Interfax reported. Kulov -- who formerly served as former National Security chief, vice president of Kyrgyzstan, and mayor of Bishkek -- is serving a 10-year sentence for abuse of office. The Kyrgyz opposition says the charges against him were politically motivated to remove President Askar Akaev's most-credible rival from the political arena. Kulov has indicated that he intends to run for president in the 2005 election. International human rights groups, the European Parliament, the OSCE, and U.S. State Department have appealed repeatedly to the Kyrgyz authorities to release Kulov.
Interfax, February 04, 2004