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Journalist from Kyrgyzstan granted political asylum in France

Journalist Ulugbek Babakulov said that on February 25 he received a notice from the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA), which said: «Now you are under the legal and administrative protection of the office.» Fergana reports.

Earlier, the journalist, answering the questions of 24.kg news agency, noted that he could not return to his homeland.

«I am forced, on whim of the ex-president of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev, to stay outside the country. The French authorities gave me and my family an opportunity to settle here,» Ulugbek Babakulov told.

In July 2017, the State Committee for National Security of Kyrgyzstan (SCNS) opened a criminal case against the journalist under article 299 (incitement of national (inter-ethnic), racial, religious or inter-regional enmity) of the Criminal Code of the Kyrgyz Republic. According to the investigators, Ulugbek Babakulov published a number of provocative articles aimed at inciting ethnic hatred and enmity, creation of prerequisites for the exacerbation of interethnic relations on the website of Fergana international news agency and on other resources.

Deputies of the Parliament, Ainuru Altybaeva and Muradyl Madaminov, demanded to deprive Ulugbek Babakulov of citizenship of Kyrgyzstan. Ulugbek Babakulov repeatedly stated that unknown persons were watching his house, but no one paid attention to his statements.