Kyrgyzstan: suspect detained in killing of opposition politician’s brother

BISHKEK (TCA) — A man suspected of killing a brother of former Kyrgyzstan’s Prosecutor-General and opposition politician Aida Salyanova has been apprehended in Bishkek, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reports.

The Kyrgyz Interior Ministry said on December 28 that the 31-year-old suspect was detained after forensic tests determined a Makarov pistol in his possession was used to kill Salyanova’s 42-year-old brother, Ulan Salyanov, in early November. The suspect’s name was not disclosed.

The Interior Ministry said on November 6 that several masked men rushed into Salyanov’s Bishkek house during the night and shot him dead. The ministry has ruled out a political motive for the killing.

The killing took place less than a month after a court in Bishkek convicted Aida Salyanova on charges of abusing her office. She was sentenced to five years in prison, but her imprisonment has been postponed until her 2-year-old daughter reaches the age of 14.

Salyanova, a leading member of the opposition Ata-Meken (Fatherland) party, has maintained her innocence. She says the case against her was politically motivated.

Authorities targeted Salyanova for investigation in March, days after Ata-Meken leader Omurbek Tekebaev was arrested on the basis of what his supporters say were trumped-up bribe-taking allegations.

Tekebaev was named as Ata-Meken’s candidate in Kyrgyzstan’s October 15 presidential election shortly after his arrest. He was convicted in August and sentenced to eight years in prison.

Tekebaev’s supporters say the case was aimed at preventing him from running for president.

Sooronbai Jeenbekov, the candidate of the ruling Social Democratic Party who was publicly supported by outgoing President Almazbek Atambayev, won the presidential vote.

Sergey Kwan