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Court refuses to free Kyrgyz ex-speaker on recognizance not to leave

December 02, 2013, 12:18 UTC+3 BISHKEK

The judicial panel ruled to leave Keldibekov behind bars until January 19, 2014

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BISHKEK, December 02. /ITAR-TASS/. Kyrgyzstan’s Bishkek city court has refused to release former parliamentary speaker Akhmatbek Keldibekov on recognizance not to leave or to place him under house arrest, the court’s secretariat told Itar-Tass on Monday.

“The judicial panel ruled to leave Keldibekov behind bars until January 19, 2014,” the secretariat said.

Keldibekov served as speaker of the Kyrgyz parliament. Two years ago the ruling parliamentary coalition was reformed and he together with his Ata-Zhurt party (Fatherland) had to move into opposition and leave his post as speaker.

Several days ago the Central Asian republic’s prosecutor’s office instituted a criminal case against him on charges of corruption and abuse of power. Keldibekov is suspected of taking an unlawful decision to open offices of the legislative body abroad.

He is the seventh deputy of Ata-Zhurt, against whom a criminal case has been opened.

His fellow countrymen from the Osh region in southern Kyrgyzstan organised a rally against the court’s verdict on Osh’s central square, where around 300 supporters of the ex-speaker gathered.

During a news conference his supporters expressed readiness to seize several state and administrative buildings in Osh demanding Keldibekov’s release from prison.

The current Kyrgyz parliament includes five political parties. Aside from Ata-Zhurt these are Respublika, the Social-Democratic Party, Ata-Meken (Fatherland) and Ar-Namys (Dignity). The last three parties formed the coalition forcing Respublika and Ata-Zhurt to go into opposition. Every party enjoys practically a similar number of parliamentary mandates.

The immunity does not cover parliamentarians in Kyrgyzstan if they are accused on corruption charges.

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