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Kyrgyz Doctors Say Prime Minister Was Poisoned

Prime Minister Almaz Atambaev in Bishkek in March (AFP) BISHKEK, May 30, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyzstan's presidential medical department says Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev was poisoned with an unknown toxin, supporting Atambaev's earlier claims that he nearly died of poisoning.

According to the medical report, Atambaev underwent medical tests on May 14 at the clinic used by government officials. He was diagnosed with an "acute form of toxic hepatitis of unknown origin," which the report said proves that unidentified toxins had entered his blood.

Atambaev spoke to journalists about the medical report.

"It is not good that he got the medical report from doctors working for a government-controlled clinic."

No Investigation

"As you know, there are lots of different opinions regarding my health," he said. "Some people say 'Atambaev made up all of this to promote himself.' That's why I got this medical report. It says 'Atambaev was poisoned.' It's not good when somebody poisons a prime minister in the [Kyrgyz] White House. But the general prosecutor and the security services do not care."

During a parliament session on May 22, Atambaev said he was poisoned on May 11 in his office. Atambaev said he was given a glass of water that he drank and which left him hospitalized and "unconscious for two days."

Questionable Source?

An opposition politician and practicing doctor, Tashbolot Baltabaev, told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that a special parliamentary commission should be created to investigate the incident. The former member of parliament said that if the allegation is confirmed, "it would be a serious political issue."

"If the prime minister was poisoned in his own office and was unconscious for two days, it would be an emergency situation, right?" he asked. "But it is not good that he got the medical report from doctors working for a government-controlled clinic."

Shortly after Atambaev's claims last week, Kyrgyz parliament speaker Marat Sultanov announced that the parliament will conduct an investigation into the alleged poisoning attempt.

However, Kyrgyzstan's National Security Service has officially said that it is not investigating the case.

Possible Motive

Atambaev says he does not know who would have poisoned him. However, news agencies quote him saying earlier that he had received death threats connected with the government's decision to nationalize a giant silicon-producing plant in the southern Jalalabad region.

The plant -- which was built during the Soviet era was turned into a government-controlled, joint-stock company in the mid-1990s -- was taken over by the government last April after a failed attempt to auction it.

Atambaev supported the plant's nationalization. He has said the plant, which produces silicon for computer hardware, will be turned into the "Kyrgyz Silicon Valley."

Atambaev, who is the leader of the opposition Social Democratic Party, was approved as premier by the parliament in March in an attempt to resolve an ongoing political crisis in Kyrgyzstan.

The impoverished Central Asian state, which hosts both Russian and U.S. military bases, has been plagued by political unrest since the March 2005 ouster of longtime leader Askar Akaev.

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