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Detaineded Kyrgyzstan’s ex-president ‘was plotting coup’

by on August 14, 2019
 

Kyrgyzstan’s former president Almazbek Atambayev, who was detained in a raid on his residence in Bishkek last week, was plotting to overthrow the government, according to the head of the Central Asian country’s security services.

Atambayev, who was president from 2011 to 2017, was already facing five criminal charges. Kyrgyz authorities are now also investigating him for violence and organizing riots.

He was arrested in a massive security operation on Thursday. An attempt to detain him the day before had sparked deadly clashes between his supporters and law enforcement.

“He wanted bloodshed. His intention was a state coup,” Orozbek Opumbayev, the head of the national security services, the GKNB, told a news conference in Bishkek.

The head of the state prosecutor’s investigations department said Atambayev would also be probed for organizing attempted murder, after one law enforcement officer died in the clashes last week.

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“Atambayev is suspected of using violence against government officials, organizing riots, and organizing attempted murders,” Zamir Beishekeev said.

Kyrgyzstan’s chief of police said separately on Tuesday that the clashes had wounded 170 people — mostly servicemen — of whom two are in critical condition.

Kyrgyzstan, which has seen two revolutions in less than two decades, is caught in a standoff between Atambayev and his protégé-turned-foe, President Sooronbai Jeenbekov.

A court on Thursday ordered Atambayev to be held in pre-trial detention until August 26, a period that can be extended by another court order.

Some 120 items of property belonging to him have been confiscated by the court, prosecutors said.

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Meanwhile, eight non-government organizations and independent media outlets demanded on Saturday that authorities reverse a decision to shut down a television channel called “April” owned by Atambayev, which authorities raided and shut down following his detention.

Prior to his arrest, Atambayev had ignored three police summonses for questioning in connection with the release of an underworld figure, ethnic Chechen Aziz Batukayev, in 2013 during his presidency.

Farid Niyazov, who served as chief of staff to both Atambayev and Jeenbekov, was detained Thursday over the holding of several special forces officers hostage and the organization of mass unrest as the raid on Atambayev’s compound descended into chaos.

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