BISHKEK -- A judge in Bishkek has barred former Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev from being present at his high-profile trial after the ex-leader of the Central Asian nation refused to sit together with other defendants in the courtroom's caged area.
Judge Marat Sydykov of the Birinchi Mai District Court in Bishkek announced the decision on June 1 as the trial over deadly clashes with security forces last year at Atambaev's compound in a Bishkek suburb resumed.
Atambaev's lawyer, Sergei Slesarev, told reporters that guards had taken his client out of the courtroom after the judge ruled that Atambaev will not be present in the courtroom until the trial is over.
Slesarev said that Atambaev, who had sat at an open desk next to his lawyers in the trial's previous sessions, had a right not to sit together with other defendants because he was charged in another case as well.
Dozens of Atambaev's supporters and opponents rallied in front of the court's building as the trial resumed.
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