BISHKEK -- The head of the Ata-Jurt (Homeland) party in the Kyrgyz parliament, Kamchybek Tashiev, has surrendered his immunity from prosecution as a member of parliament, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.
Tashiev said he took the action on June 17 to avoid the need to create a parliamentary commission to strip him of his immunity.
He said he is ready to be questioned by prosecutors about allegations that he physically assaulted fellow parliament deputy Bakhadyr Suleimanov.
"I am ready to prove my innocence in a courtroom," Tashiev said.
On June 14, the Kyrgyz Prosecutor-General's press service said a request had been sent to parliament to strip Tashiev of his immunity in connection with a proposed investigation.
On June 16, the Kyrgyz parliament established a commission to evaluate the charges against Tashiev.
Suleimanov filed a lawsuit against Tashiev on April 1, accusing him of assault and battery. Suleimanov spent several days at a cardiology center in Bishkek after the alleged fight.
Tashiev insists he never physically assaulted Suleimanov, but admitted they had a heated conversation and verbally insulted each other on April 1. He did not say what they argued about.
Another Ata-Jurt party member and parliament deputy, Kurmanbek Osmonov, told parliament today that Kyrgyz law does not allow parliament deputies to renounce their immunity.
Tashiev told RFE/RL on June 15 that hooliganism charges brought against him are an attempt "to prevent my participation in the presidential elections" scheduled for the fall. Many experts and politicians think Tashiev plans to run for president.
Meawnhile, an RFE/RL correspondent reports from the southern Jalal-Abad region that Tashiev's supporters there are planning a large-scale protest.
Ata-Jurt is a member of Kyrgyzstan's three-party governing coalition.
Read more in Kyrgyz here