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Kyrgyz Ombudsman Critical Of Demonstration Crackdown

Tursunbek Akun (file photo)

Tursunbek Akun (file photo)

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz Ombudsman Tursunbek Akun has criticized police actions against antigovernment demonstrators in and around the capital, Bishkek, on August 5, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Akun told RFE/RL the use of tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the demonstration in Bishkek was unnecessary.

He said the majority of the protesters were unarmed and therefore police had no right to use violence when dispersing them, adding that the police should not have detained unarmed demonstrators.

Akun also sent an open letter to the government today, in which he wrote that "the government should not forget the price common Kyrgyz citizens paid to bring the current leadership of the nation to power. The police have no right to violate ordinary citizens' rights guaranteed by the Kyrgyz Constitution."

Some 2,000 supporters of the leader of Meken Tuu (Flag of the Homeland) party, Urmat Barktabasov, organized the August 5 demonstration in Bishkek's central square to demand that President Roza Otunbaeva appoint him prime minister.

Kyrgyz security forces arrested Barktabasov and four of his associates in the Issyk-Kul region as they and hundreds of other supporters traveled to join the rally in Bishkek. Officials said the four men were armed.

Kyrgyz National Security Service (UKK) head Keneshbek Duishebaev told journalists today that Barktabasov was officially charged with attempting to overthrow the government by force, organization of mass unrest, and illegal weapons possession.

Duishebaev told journalists on August 5 that Barktabasov had been given a large amount of money from Bakiev's relatives.

He said the UKK has discovered how the money was channeled to Kyrgyzstan and has evidence to prove it. No further details were provided.

Janysh Bakiev

Duishebaev also said at the press conference that a brother of Bakiev, Janysh Bakiev, is thought to be living in Minsk with his brother.

Janysh Bakiev was the commander of the presidential security guard when his brother was president.

Following his resignation in April, Kurmanbek Bakiev fled to Belarus at the invitation of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Kurmanbek and Janysh Bakiev and several of their relatives are wanted in Kyrgyzstan for corruption, embezzlement, and mass murder for issuing an order for police to fire on demonstrators during the protests on April 7 that led to Bakiev fleeing Bishkek.

A total of 86 people died in the clashes between security forces and demonstrators.