BISHKEK -- The Kyrgyz Prosecutor-General's Office says the charges against the leader of the Ata-Jurt (Fatherland) party in parliament have been increased, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.
Kamchybek Tashiev was questioned by the Prosecutor-General's Investigative Directorate on June 20 regarding his alleged beating of fellow deputy Bakhadyr Suleimanov.
Suleimanov filed a lawsuit against Tashiev on April 1, accusing him of assault and battery. Suleimanov spent several days at the cardiology center in Bishkek after the alleged fight and later also in a hospital.
Tashiev said he never physically assaulted Suleimanov, but admits they had a heated conversation and verbally insulted each other on April 1. He has not said what they argued about.
Originally, Tashiev was charged with hooliganism and battery. But medical experts say Suleimanov's health was seriously damaged after the alleged beating by Tashiev.
The Prosecutor-General's Office said the charges against Tashiev had been changed to "premeditated infliction of significant damage to a person's health."
Tashiev -- who was a cabinet minister under ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiev -- could face up to eight years in prison if found guilty of the charges.
Tashiev told RFE/RL on June 15 that the hooliganism charges brought against him were an attempt "to prevent my participation in the presidential election" scheduled for the fall.
Many experts and other politicians think Tashiev is planning to run for president.
Ata-Jurt is a member of Kyrgyzstan's three-party governing coalition. Its members include many former ministers and deputies who were loyal to Bakiev.
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