Kyrgyzstan ex-president’s arrest extended for two months

Published October 26, 2019, 12:40 AM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Agence France-Presse

Kyrgyzstan’s former president Almazbek Atambayev will be held in jail for a further two months after refusing to attend hearings of a corruption trial where he is the main defendant, his lawyer said Friday.

Atambayev was detained in a massive security operation last week (AFP)
Atambayev was detained in a massive security operation last week (AFP)

The 63-year-old ex-ally of current President Sooronbai Jeenbekov was detained by police in August following clashes between his armed supporters and special forces which led to the death of an officer.

His lawyer Sergey Slesarev told AFP that the former leader will be held at least until December 26 after a court ruling earlier this month and that Atambayev would continue to refuse to attend the hearings.

“His plans have not changed. He does not intend to cooperate with the court,” Slesarev told AFP.

Atambayev has been charged with corruption over the release from jail and flight to Chechnya of one of the ex-Soviet nation’s most notorious mob bosses during his presidency in 2013.

He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

The former president is also suspected of committing 13 other crimes including organizing murder, organizing mass disturbances and taking servicemen hostage during clashes at his residence last summer, his lawyer has said, adding that “my client believes he is not guilty of any crime”.

Atambayev was active in securing the incumbent Jeenbekov’s election victory in 2017.

But the two subsequently fell out, roiling the political elite in the impoverished country with close ties to Russia and China.