Kyrgyzstan: Ex-President Atambayev rejects accusations ahead of vote on his immunity

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BISHKEK (TCA) — Kyrgyzstan’s former President Almazbek Atambayev has rejected all accusations leveled against him by lawmakers and the prosecutor-general, as the parliament gets ready to vote on stripping him of immunity from prosecution, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reports.

In a statement made public by his associates on June 26, Atambayev accused his successor Sooronbai Jeenbekov of “lawlessness” and using against him “the dirtiest politicians with the dirtiest corrupt past, and the most immoral information technologies.”

Atambayev, who was limited to a single six-year presidential term by the constitution, vocally backed Jeenbekov in an October 2017 presidential election.

But the two have traded accusations of incompetence and a lack of professionalism in recent months.

“As I said earlier, I am not going to be part of this masquerade. I am not afraid of responsibility,” Atambayev said, adding that he had never been present in parliament when lawmakers discussed misdeeds allegedly committed by him while in office.

“They [lawmakers] have got used to conducting their dirty business covertly, cowardly, and maliciously,” Atambayev said.

On June 20, Kyrgyz lawmakers voted for a resolution stripping Atambayev of the immunity all former presidents receive under the country’s laws. The move came amid allegations that Atambayev abused his powers while in office.

Atambayev’s statement comes a day after the country’s top prosecutor ruled that the resolution adopted by parliament was legal.

Prosecutor-General Otkurbek Jamshitov said on June 25 that his office had found grounds to charge Atambayev on five of the six counts of misconduct and abuse of power filed by parliament against Atambayev last week.

The prosecutor-general’s approval allows parliament to strip Atambayev of the status of ex-president, which means he will lose his immunity from prosecution. Lawmakers plan to vote on the measure on June 27.

Several of Atambayev’s close allies were arrested on corruption charges just months after Jeenbekov’s inauguration in November 2017.

Earlier this month, Kyrgyz authorities arrested the ex-chief of the presidential office’s department for judicial-system reform, Manasbek Arabaev, on corruption charges.

Sapar Isakov and Jantoro Satybaldiev, both of whom served as prime minister under Atambayev, have also been charged with corruption.

Also on June 26, Atambayev’s supporters gathered at his compound in the Koi-Tash village near Bishkek and set up four yurts near it.

The yurts were set up after Atambayev announced on June 25 that his sympathizers had established a support group.

Yurts are usually set up by activists in Kyrgyzstan when they plan long-term protests or rallies.

Sergey Kwan

TCA