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Kyrgyz court rules to keep ex-president in custody

Almazbek Atambayev, stripped of immunity, was detained in a special operation on August 8
Almazbek Atambayev Mikhail Metzel/TASS
Almazbek Atambayev
© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

BISKHEK, August 16. /TASS/. The Bishkek City Court has ruled to keep Kyrgyzstan’s former President Almazbek Atambayev in custody, a TASS correspondent reported from the office of the country’s State National Security Committee where a court hearing had been held.

Bishkek’s Pervomaisky District Court earlier put Atambayev in custody until August 26.

"The Bishkek City Court has violated a number of legislative acts by making this decision, including those concerning guarantees for the ex-president," Atambayev’s lawyer Sergei Slesarev said.

Atambayev, stripped of immunity, was detained in a special operation on August 8. The operation lasted almost 24 hours as law enforcement officers faced strong resistance from Atambayev’s supporters defending his residence in the settlement of Koi-Tash. A special forces soldier was killed in the operation, while over 100 people suffered injuries. Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov said Atambayev had violated the country’s constitution by offering armed resistance to law enforcement agencies.

However, Atambayev’s lawyer requested the Bishkek City Court release the ex-president from custody. According to Slesarev, the country’s parliament violated the constitution by stripping Atambayev of his ex-president status and immunity.

The ex-president is being charged with corruption, violence against law enforcement officers, organizing mass unrest, murder, attempted murder and hostage taking, as well as involvement in the unlawful release of crime boss Aziz Batukayev and illegal deliveries of coal to Bishkek’s thermal power plants.

Atambayev served as Kyrgyz president in 2011-2017. He was the country’s first head of state to step down after his first term in office had expired. In the spring of 2018, Atambayev admitted that he had strong differences with incumbent President Sooronbay Jeenbekov.