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Kyrgyz Politician Refuses To Accept Award, Criticizes Leadership


Azimbek Beknazarov was a member of Kyrgyzstan's interim government, serving as prosecutor-general and deputy prime minister until December 2010.

Azimbek Beknazarov was a member of Kyrgyzstan's interim government, serving as prosecutor-general and deputy prime minister until December 2010.

BISHKEK -- A Kyrgyz politician has said he will not accept the "Manas" medal he was awarded by outgoing President Roza Otunbaeva this week, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Azimbek Beknazarov told RFE/RL that his decision to reject the award was an act of protest. He said the goals and objectives of "last year's April revolution have never been achieved."

Beknazarov, a leader of the main protest in the northern city of Talas that led to the toppling of President Kurmanbek Bakiev on April 7, 2010, said that "corruption is still widening in society, the trial of those responsible for killing demonstrators in April is bogged down, and those who were in power during Bakiev's reign are still doing well and connected to the new leadership. In these circumstances I cannot accept any award from the current authorities."

Beknazarov, 55, was a member of Kyrgyzstan's interim government, serving as prosecutor-general and deputy prime minister until December 2010. He then served as Otunbaeva's adviser and her representative to parliament until resigning in July.

Otunbaeva was replaced on December 1 when former Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev has sworn in as the country's new president.

Earlier this week, Otunbaeva signed decrees awarding a number of politicians -- including Beknazarov -- with the "Manas" medal of the second and third grade for their contribution to the country's democratic revolution.

Beknazarov, a lawyer and longtime opposition activist, was often criticized for comments he made while in Otunbaeva's government that were construed as supportive of controversial Osh Mayor Melis Myrzakmatov.

Beknazarov made a public apology in June for his inability to prevent the deadly ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan in 2010.

Read more in Kyrgyz here
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