Kyrgyzstan’s opposition leader Tekebaev may get 10-year prison term, barred from presidential election

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BISHKEK (TCA) — The state prosecutor in the bribery trial of Kyrgyzstan opposition party leader Omurbek Tekebaev has recommended a 10-year prison sentence if he is convicted.

The prosecutor also asked the judge on August 10 to sentence Tekebaev’s co-defendant, former Emergency Situations Minister Duishonkul Chotonov, to eight years in prison, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reported.

The prosecutor requested that both politicians’ property be confiscated and that the defendants be barred from government posts for three years after their release.

Tekebaev and Chotonov are charged with receiving a $1 million bribe from a Russian businessman in 2010, when Tekebaev was deputy prime minister of the interim government following the ouster of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev in April 2010.

Both deny any wrongdoing, saying the case against them was politically motivated.

Tekebayev’s Ata-Meken (Fatherland) party has alleged that the government launched the case in an effort to stifle dissent ahead of the October presidential election in Kyrgyzstan and keep Tekebaev off the ballot.

Tekebaev was arrested in late February. On March 5, Ata-Meken named him its candidate for the presidential election.

Also on August 10, the Central Election Commission rejected Tekebaev’s request to allow him to take a Kyrgyz language test, a legal requirement for presidential nominees’ official registration.

That means that Tekebaev is barred from taking part in the October 15 presidential election.

Sergey Kwan

TCA