Kyrgyzstan: Deputy interior minister visits Atambayev’s compound after he ignores subpoenas

Kyrgyzstan's former President Almazbek Atambayev (file photo)

BISHKEK (TCA) — Kyrgyzstan’s deputy interior minister on July 22 visited the residential compound of former President Almazbek Atambayev near Bishkek after he had refused to obey a subpoena three times in an unspecified criminal investigation, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reported.

Atambayev’s assistant, Kunduz Joldubaeva, told RFE/RL that Mirlan Kanimetov and several other ministry officials came to the residential compound in the village of Koi-Tash on July 22.

Joldubaeva added that Atambayev did not come out to speak to the deputy minister. Instead, she talked to Kanimetov in the compound on his behalf.

“I have reiterated our stance, which was previously expressed by our attorney. We had informed the ministry already, and again today said that we consider a June 27 parliamentary vote that stripped Almazbek Atambayev of his immunity from prosecution to be illegal,” Joldubaeva said, adding that Kanimetov answered that he understood her statement and left the compound.

Atambayev said later in the day that he plans to visit Russia for two days, most likely starting on July 24, on an invitation by unspecified people there.

Last week, Atambayev refused to obey the third subpoena, a move that could prompt authorities to detain him for questioning.

He faces five counts of criminally abusing his office when he was Kyrgyzstan’s president from 2011 to 2017 — including corruption, abuse of office, and illegally enriching himself.

Atambayev has rejected all charges against him, saying they are politically motivated.

Under Kyrgyz law, a person who refuses to comply with two subpoenas can be forcibly detained for questioning. But authorities in Bishkek so far have not attempted to detain Atambayev.

Atambayev’s lawyer Sergei Slesarev has said that amendments made in May to Kyrgyzstan’s law on the immunity of former presidents are unconstitutional.

Kyrgyz lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to remove Atambayev’s immunity in a move that cleared the way for his prosecution.

Atambayev has spent most of his time since the June 27 parliamentary vote at his residential compound in Koi-Tash. He has publicly stated that he has weapons.

On July 3, Atambayev left his compound to speak at a rally in Bishkek where about 1,000 of his supporters rallied to demand that all of the charges against him be dropped.

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Times of Central Asia