Former parliament member sentenced to 11 years for hostage-taking in Kyrgyzstan

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BISHKEK (TCA) — A court in Bishkek has sentenced former member of Kyrgyzstan’s parliament Sadyr Japarov to 11.5 years in a high-security prison for hostage-taking.

On August 2, the Pervomaisky district court in Bishkek found Japarov guilty of taking a government official hostage in 2013 and sentenced him on the same day.

Japarov has rejected the charges and says they are politically motivated.

Japarov was detained on March 25 upon his return to Kyrgyzstan from three years of self-imposed exile abroad and went on trial on June 6, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reported.

He was charged with hostage-taking, making a death threat, hooliganism, and violent assault of a government official.

The charges are linked to Japarov’s role in 2013 protests around the Kumtor gold mine by demonstrators demanding that the mine be nationalized.

On August 2, Japarov was only found guilty on organizing the kidnapping of Issyk-Kul province governor Emil Kaptagayev and using him as a hostage during a standoff with the authorities.

Japarov, who declares himself an opposition politician, had been a senior member of the government and an adviser to former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

After Bakiyev was ousted in 2010, Japarov became a parliament member.

In 2013, Japarov was sentenced to 18 months in prison on charges of attempting to violently seize power after he and two other lawmakers tried to force their way into the presidential palace during a protest.

Just three months after serving his term, Japarov was acquitted and released. He fled Kyrgyzstan later that year after an investigation into the last case was launched against him.

Sergey Kwan

TCA