Kyrgyzstan: Parliament votes to strip Atambayev of ex-president’s status, immunity

Kyrgyzstan's former President Almazbek Atambayev (file photo)

BISHKEK (TCA) — The parliament in Kyrgyzstan has voted overwhelmingly to lift the ex-president’s status and immunity of former President Almazbek Atambayev, clearing a path for his prosecution on corruption charges.

In the June 27 vote, 103 parliament deputies supported the measure to strip Atambayev’s immunity, while six voted against the measure, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reported.

Atambayev has rejected all accusations leveled against him by lawmakers and the prosecutor-general that he abused his powers while in office.

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.

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.

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

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.

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Times of Central Asia