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Kyrgyz Report: January 25, 2000

25 January 2000

Member of Parliament and chairman of the opposition El (Bei-Bechara) Party, Daniyar Usenov was tried in the Lenin district court of Bishkek on 25 January. He was delivered to the court from a hospital where he has been treated since 19 January. During the trial, his heart condition got worse, his blood pressure rose and he was delivered back to hospital by aThe court session was interrupted. More than 100 people picketed the court building demanding to stop the persecution of Usenov.

Prosecutor Tattygul Ismailova demanded at the beginning of the session to place Usenov under arrest, but Judge Gulzair Sutalinova decided to sentence Usenov not to leave the city. Usenov 's lawyer is Nikolai Juchkov, and Chairman of the Kyrgyz Committee for Human Rights Ramazan Dyryldayev is his public defender. Dyryldaev told the session that the case is politically motivated.

Usenov is accused of beating businessman Kengesh Mukaev, and the case began in 1996. The Pervomai district court of Bishkek closed the case last October due to a statement by Mukaev that he had nothing against Usenov. Mukayev repeated this to the on 25 January court session but the judge rejected his statement. The prosecutor office has renewed the case recently. Usenov was registered on 15 January as a candidate to the new parliament. According to Kyrgyz law, a registered candidate cannot be tried.

According to the Central Election Commission (CEC), two political blocs and 10 parties have been registered so far to take part in the forthcoming parliamentary election on proportional system. The blocs are: the bloc Unity of Democratic Forces (uniting the pro-governmental Social Democratic Party, the Party of Economical Revival and the Birimdik Party) and the Manas bloc (uniting the People Republican Party and the Party to Support the Poor, Agricultural and Industrial Workers).

The ten parties are: the Asaba Party, the Agrarian Party, the Agrarian-Labor Party, the Ata-Meken Party, the Erkin Kyrgyzstan (ErK) Party, the Democratic Party of Women, the Party of Communists of Kyrgyzstan, the Party of Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan (PDMK), the Party of My Country, the Party of War Veterans.

The PDMK had formed a political bloc with the Ar-Namys party, but the CEC did not register the bloc. However, chairman of Ar-Namys, Felix Kulov occupies the first place in the party list of PDMK. It has been agreed that the PDMK can co-opt into its party list some prominent people who are not members. The poll will be held on 20 February.

Also, according to the CEC, 448 candidates to parliament from single-mandate constituencies have been registered so far.

The Kyrgyzgas governmental company announced on 25 January that the all areas of Bishkek City will receive natural gas beginning that day. According to an official of the company, Uzbekistan has increased gas deliveries from 30,000 cubic meters per hour to 50,000. Some areas of Bishkek City have been without natural gas suppliesy since 15 January due to Uzbekistan reduced the supply from 60,000 cubic meters per hour till 30,000.

The Kyrgyzgas is negotiating now with the Interprombusiness (Uzbekistan), the Itera (Russia) and Intergas (Kazakhstan) companies besides the previous Uzbektransgas of Uzbekistan on future gas deliveries to Kyrgyzstan. According to the Kyrgyzgas, Kyrgyzstan owes Uzbekistan about $19 million in total for previous gas supplies.

Deputy director general of the Kyrgyzenergo governmental company Ilyas Davydov has taken part in a meeting of Central Asian energetic agencies in Ashgabat on joint policy in energetics. The meeting failed to work out a common decision.

Presidednt Askar Akayev took part in the CIS summit in Moscow on 25 January. It was decided at the meeting that Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russiam Tajikistan and Uzbekistan would hold joint military exercises on territory of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan this spring. Several hundred rebels invaded of Kyrgyzstan last fall and took about 25 hostages, including 4 Japanese geologists. 27 Kyrgyz citizens were killed during the 2-month crisis. Akayev will leave Moscow for Switzerland to take part in the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Head of the health care department of Bishkek City administration Sabyrjan Abdykerimov announced on 25 January that 35,000 people are ill with the Sidney Grippe now. According to him, 6 children have died from it in Kyrgyzstan recently. The administration buys anti-grippe vaccines from abroad. However, according to Abdykerimov, the epidemic will gain strength in February.

Chairman of the governmental Commission on Religious Affairs Jolbors Jorobekov announced in Bishkek on 25 January that the government of Saudi Arabia gives Kyrgyzstan a quota of 3,500 people to make pilgrimage to Mecca this year. However, according to Jorobekov, only about 1,000 Kyrgyz citizen could visit Mecca this year due to economic crisis.

President Askar Akayev and Prime Minister Amangeldi MurAliyev departed to Moscow the morning of 24 January to take part in the CIS meetings. Akayev met with Russian acting President Vladimir Putin and discussed bilateral relations between Kyrgyzstan and Russia. N 25 January Akayev will take part in the CIS summit.

According to the government press service, prime ministers of the CIS discussed on 24 January a program for CIS development in 2000-2005. Also, problems related to the policy of antimonopoly, protection of consumers, migration, transportation and power lines, military cooperation, and other issues will be discussed. Foreign Minister Muratbek ImanAliyev is taking part in a meeting of CIS foreign ministers in Moscow. After Moscow, ImanAliyev will go to Great Britain.

The parliamentary press service announced in Bishkek on 24 January that the Interior Ministry stopped guarding Daniyar Usenov's ward in Hospital #1in Bishkek on 23 January. According to the press service, two prominent Kyrgyz cardiologists (Academician Mambet Mamakeev and Academician Mirsaid Mirrahimov) wrote a letter to the Kyrgyz leadership saying that Usenov is in a pre-heart attack condition and needs intensive therapy.

MP Usenov is chairman of the opposition El (Bei-Bechara) Party. He has been registered as a candidate to the new parliament which will be formed after a poll on 20 February. According to the Election Code, a registered candidate to parliament cannot be arrested. The Prosecutor General Office recently renewed a criminal case against him, and he was taken into hospital custody on 19 January. Usenov was accused of beating businessman Kengesh Mukaev, and the case began in 1996. The Pervomai district court of Bishkek closed the case last October due to a statement by Mukaev that he had nothing against Usenov.

The head of the presidential administration Misir Ashirkulov visited the hospital on 23 Januay r and said that his office had nothing to do with Usenov's arrest.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) announced in Bishkek on 24 Januray that 585 people have submitted their documents to run for the new parliament. Of these, 358 have been registered so far. Among them are 184 who will run for the lower house (the 60-seat Legislative Assembly) and 174 who will run for the upper house (the 45-seat People's Assembly). The deadline for submitting documents expired on 20 January.

According to the CEC, only two political parties and one bloc have been registered to date. They are the Democratic Party of Women, the Party of War Veterans and the bloc Unity of Democratic Forces (uniting the pro-governmental Social Democratic Party, the Party of Economic Revival and the Birimdik Party). Among the candidates are 65 members of the current parliament, of whom 51 have registered so far.

A trial on the assassination of Yusup Kolbaev finished in Bishkek on 24 January. Talant Duishembiev, Vyacheslav Abdrashitov (Kachan) and Valeri Kurkin were sentenced to death. Former police colonel Duishembiev is accused of organizing the assassination. He had been director of the anti-criminal center at the National Academy of Sciences before the arrest in 1997. Abdrashitov, a criminal, and Kurkin, a policeman, are accused of implementing the assassination. The judge was Dastanbai Aijigitov, member of the Military Court of Kyrgyzstan.

However, one of the accused, Izbakiev, was acquitted and released in the court on that same day. Kolbaev, head of the Lukoil-Kyrgyzstan Company, was shot dead in front of his house in Bishkek on 21 March 1997. The trial began in Bishkek on 23 November.

First vice Prime Minister Boris Silaev held a special governmental meeting on the situation of disabled people in the country. A new national program to support them was adopted at the meeting. It was announced that there are now 102,000 disabled people in Kyrgyzstan, 6,000 of whom are World War II veterans. Within the framework of the program, $7 million will be spent to to repair the homes of disabled people in 2000. It was announced at the meeting that the number of disabled children increased 7 percent in 1999 over 1998.

President Askar Akayev, Prime Minister Amangeldi Muraliev, and other government members will depart to Moscow on 24 January. On 25 January, Akayev will attend the CIS summit chaired by acting Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On 26 January, President Akayev will leave Russia for Switzerland to take part in the World Economic Forum in Davos. Finance Minister Sultan Mederov, Kyrgyz Ambassador to Switzerland Omar Sultanov and Akayev's elder daughter Bermet will accompany the president.

Prime Minister Amangeldi MurAliyev and Foreign Minister Muratbek ImanAliyev will take part in the two separate meetings of CIS premiers and foreign ministers in Moscow on 24 January. After Moscow, ImanAliyev will go to Great Brutain. He will meet British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, other government officials and business leaders in London on 25-29 January.

According to the government press service, Prime Minister Amangeldi MurAliyev will visit Japan on 6-9 February. He will take part in the third meeting of the Kyrgyz-Japanese inter-government commission. Cooperation between Kyrgyzstan and Japan in economics, trade, technologies will be discussed.