BISHKEK (TCA) — Two Kyrgyz opposition politicians who were jailed on charges of attempted power seizure have been released, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reported.
Ex-member of the Kyrgyz Parliament Kubanychbek Kadyrov and ex-governor of Jalal-Abad oblast Bektur Asanov were released after their lawyers’ motion to grant them early release was accepted, Kyrgyzstan’s Supreme Court said on February 12.
The two, together with Ernest Karybekov, another opposition politician, were arrested in March 2016 after an audio recording that featured voices similar to theirs discussing ways to overthrow the government circulated on the Internet.
Asanov told RFE/RL before his arrest that the tapes had been doctored and that they were posted online in “an attempt to blackmail the opposition.”
In April 2017, the three, together with Dastan Sarygulov, another opposition politician, were found guilty of planning to seize power by force.
Karybekov was sentenced to 20 years in prison, while Kadyrov and Asanov received sentences of 12 years.
Former State Secretary Dastan Sarygulov was sentenced to four years in prison, three of which being suspended sentence, and was released in the courtroom.
In June 2018, the Supreme Court shortened the prison terms of Kadyrov and Asanov to eight years, and Karybekov’s prison term was cut by six years. He remains in prison.
The three have insisted that their convictions are politically motivated.