World

Ex-Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev charged with murder

Almazbek Atambayev Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Almazbek Atambayev had been sidelined by his successor

Kyrgyzstan’s former President Almazbek Atambayev has been charged with murder and plotting a government coup.

He has also been accused of organising mass unrest and hostage-taking.

Mr Atambayev was arrested last week in a dramatic police raid on his house that left one officer dead.

The Central Asian state has seen two revolutions in less than two decades and is caught in an escalating conflict between the ex-president and his successor Sooronbai Jeenbekov.

On Tuesday, the general prosecutor said Mr Atambayev had been charged with “unlawfully carrying a weapon”, “murdering a special forces officer”, “taking hostages” and “organising mass unrest”.

The head of the National Security Services, Orozbek Opumbayev, said the former leader had the “intention to organise a state coup”.

Mr Atambayev’s dramatic detention after two raids on his compound on 7 and 8 August saw one officer killed and six officers held hostage by his supporters before he finally surrendered.

Some 80 people were injured and 53 others hospitalised during the operation.

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Media captionMr Atambayev was detained earlier this month

Mr Atambayev served as president of the former Soviet republic between 2011 and 2017. The current president, Sooronbai Jeenbekov, had initially been a protege of Mr Atambayev but the two have since fallen out.

Relations between the pair soured after the transfer of power, and observers say Mr Jeyenbekov moved to sideline his predecessor politically last year by removing Atambayev loyalists from positions of power.

Parliament stripped Mr Atambayev of his immunity in June so that he could be sent a subpoena to appear as a witness in a case involving the unlawful release of a Chechen crime boss in 2013. He has ignored three subpoenas from the interior ministry.

But he is also accused of multiple incidents of corruption – all of which he denies. He has ignored orders to surrender to police for questioning, characterising them as illegal.

  • Population 6 million

  • Area 199,900 sq km (77,182 sq miles)

  • Major languages Kyrgyz, Russian

  • Major religions Islam, Christianity

  • Life expectancy 67 years (men), 75 years (women)

  • Currency som

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Kyrgyzstan is a Central Asian republic that became independent with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. It is about two-thirds the size of the United Kingdom, but has a population of just six million – most of whom are Turkic-speaking Muslims.

The country remains relatively poor, with a GDP per capita on par with Cameroon or Kenya. Dissatisfaction with the government has meant a lack of political stability since independence – the first two post-Soviet presidents were deposed after waves of mass protests.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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