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Kyrgyz Report: February 17, 2000

17 February 2000

First meeting of the Kyrgyz-Uzbek inter-governmental commission on state borders began in Bishkek on 17 February. The 28-member Uzbek delegation is led by chairman of the state agency on cartography and geodesy Abduvali Abdulazizov. Kyrgyz delegation is led by department head in the governmental staff Salamat Alamanov.

Alamanov told RFE/RL correspondent before the meeting that it would last for 3 days and the two main issues would be discussed: defining the exact border lines between the two states and forming the common rules of border crossing.

Kazakh and Tajik officials as well as some Kyrgyz politicians have accused the Uzbek government of pushing forward the border signs into their territories recently.

Coalition of the Non-Governmental Organizations won a legal case against the Central Election Commission (CEC) on 17 February. The Pervomai district court of Bishkek ruled that the CEC must revoke its decision No 266 taken on 11 February. According to the decision, it was enough if only three persons would sign the voting ballots: chairperson, secretary and one of the members of a local election commission.

According to the coalition, it contradicts to the clause 1 of the Constitution and clause 6 of the Election Code violating a principle of secret voting. Now, all the members of the local commissions must sign the ballots, as was agreed on 31 January.

Judge Nailya Aseinova chaired the court session on 17 February. Chairwoman of the coalition is Tolekan Ismailova. Parliamentary elections will be held on Sunday.

President Askar Akayev received in Bishkek on 17 February World Bank representative Kioshi Kadera and discussed further cooperation between the WB and Kyrgyzstan. It was announced at the meeting that the bank would give Kyrgyzstan a 164-million-dollar package of 8 investment loans in 2000 - 2001. The money will be used for reforms in economics and energetics as well as for fight against poverty.

According to the presidential press service, President Askar Akayev received in Bishkek on 17 February four newly appointed foreign ambassadors and they handed Akayev their credentials.

Office of the Spanish Ambassador Francisco Pascal de la Parta is in Almaty. Indonesian Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Roni Hidayat Gastin is based in Tashkent. Main offices of New Zealand Ambassador Jeffry Word and Slovak Ambassador Dusan Snoy are based in Moscow.

A meeting of a working group of the Central Asian inter-state commission on water resources began in Bishkek on 17 February. Representatives of the water resources state agencies of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, as well as experts from the three states are taking part.

Session of the Supreme Court upheld on 17 February decision of a local court against the opposition Party of Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan (PDMK). Session was chaired by Supreme Court Chairman Akynbek Tilebaliev. Now, the Central Election Commission can revoke registration of the PDMK party list and it would be barred from parliamentary elections to be held on 20 February. About 50 people picketed the building of the Supreme Court in Bishkek today demanding to stop persecuting opposition.

The Pervomai district court of Bishkek ruled on 5 February that the last congress of the party was held with violations of the party rulings and without a quorum. The party appealed to the Supreme Court and convened its urgent congress on 9 February, which re-stated that there was a quorum at the party congress on 5 January and that all the decisions taken at it are valid.

According to party chairman MP Jypar Jeksheev, the government began persecuting his party after a prominent opposition politician Felix Kulov was co-opted to the party election list on 5 January. He says a lot of party members have been interrogated by law enforcement officers and some of them were forced to give deliberately false information against their own party.

Chief editor of the pro-governmental Utro Bishkeka paper Melis Aidarkulov held a news conference in Bisahkek on 16 February. He is author of anti-Kulov series of articles, published recently. According to Aidarkulov, Kulov violated a lot of laws being vice president of the country, governor of a province, minister of national security and mayor of Bishkek, abusing his power and embezzling state budget. However, Aidarkulov could not provide journalists with exact facts and could not answer some their questions.

The press service for the interior ministry announced on 15 February that Kulov had some links with assassination of businessman Yusup Kolbaev, shot to dead in March 1997. Kulov's representative Emil Aliyev told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek today that if Kulov were guilty there should have been the exact accusations and investigation. But the authorities are able only to organize media campaign against Kulov. According to Aliev, the interior ministry officials demanding now from the 3 people convicted of killing Kolbaev, to admit that Kulov ordered a contract killing. Taalai Beishembiev, Vyacheslav Abdrashitov and Valeri Kurkin were sentenced to death on 24 January.

Kulov held its own news conference in Bishkek on 15 February. According to him, the Interior Ministry opened a lawsuit against him on 20 January and he was acquainted with the case on 9 February. He says the case is politically motivated and he had already sent his official explanations both to the ministry and President Askar Akayev. Any pro-governmental paper, either any TV station has not reported on yesterday Kulov's news conference. This morning, Kulov departed to the Talas province to meet his voters.

Trial against MP Ishenbai Kadyrbekov at the Pervomai district court of Bishkek was postponed on 16 February again shortly after beginning. Kadyrbekov asked to postpone it due to illness of his lawyer but Judge Kyrgyzbaev insisted on resumption. Kadyrbekov fell ill, his blood pressure rose and he was delivered to the city hospital No. 4. The trial has already been interrupted several times. Kadyrbekov is a registered candidate to a new parliament and has no chance to meet his voters in the At-Bashy constituency.

Kadyrbekov is accused of making physical injuries to other parliamentarian Tokon Shailieva during a parliamentary session in 1998. Early in January, several members of parliament told the court as witnesses at testimony that Shailieva herself attacked Kadyrbekov and Kadyrbekov defended himself only. Pro-governmental Shailieva presented the court a medical document that her little finger was broken.

On 16 February Member of the Constitutional Court Marat Kaiypov announced in Bishkek on his resignation. He was nominated to parliament from the Suzak (# 9) single mandate constituency but both a local court and the Supreme Court of the county have found his nomination illegal because he has not suspended his work at the Constitutional Court.

Kaiypov told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 16 February that Chairwoman of the Constitutional Court Cholpon Baekova rejected twice to give him a vacation and he decided to resign. At the same time, he had been nominated only to the Constitutional Court and has not begun to work at it yet. He had been a department head in the presidential administration before. According to Kaiypov, he still hopes to take part in the elections, because has appealed to the Supreme Court again.

According to the governmental press service, a Kyrgyz delegation led by Prime Minister Amangeldi MurAliyev departed on 16 Februayr to Moscow to take part in a 2-day meeting of the heads of governments of CIS Customs Union member states. Problems of formation a common customs policy and plans for the year 2000 will be discussed.

Professor Asylbek Aidaraliev, national coordinator of a commission on holding an International Year of Mountains in 2002, held a news conference in Bishkek on 16 February. According to him, a special meeting of donors and patrons of the event will be held in Bishkek in the summer. Also, a special Central Asian institute for mountains would be founded in Bishkek soon. The commission has already got 6 million soms (about $130,000) to build a special village in the Ala-Archa gorge near Bishkek. Sponsors of it are the Asian Development Bank, the International Aga-Khan Foundation and other organizations. Also, another special village would be constructed in the mountainous Naryn province by 2002.

Kyrgyz mission in Geneva announced on 16 February that the UN General Assembly had decided to allot a 1,75-million-dollar help to Kyrgyzstan for special program on energetics and using the water resources. A special letter on it has been sent to President Askar Akayev.

Newly appointed Slovak Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Dusan Snoy held a news conference in Bishkek on 16 February. According to him, Kyrgyzstan and Slovakia should expand their cooperation in agriculture, machine building and tourism and yearly trade turnout between the two states should be increased from several hundred US dollars to several hundred millions. The ambassador will hand his credential papers to President Askar Akayev on 17 February.

A group of businessmen picketed on 16 February the building of the district administration in Bishkek. They demanded compensations for damage from a fire at the Alamedin Market warehouse on 5 February. 102 businessmen were suffered and a total damage is about 2 million soms (about about $45,000).

Head of the Sverdlov district Bakyt Kakeev and director of the market Sharshenbai Matkabylov met with the protestors and promised to help. The businessmen accuse the administration of the market of bad conditions at the warehouse. According to them, the administration collects every possible tax from them but does not insure their goods,

Presentation of the book entitled "Political Parties of Kyrgyzstan - 2000" was held in the Bishkek office of the Counterpart Consortium on 16 February. It has detailed information and color photographs on the 27 parties of the country and was issued by the "Development of Humanity Space" non-governmental organization with help from the Westminster Foundation. The book will be distributed among voters on the eve of the parliamentary elections.

There are 31 political parties in Kyrgyzstan now. The last one was founded early this month. However, some of the parties have not been registered with the Justice Ministry yet.

Moscow based Vremya MN daily carries an article on governmental recent actions against Kyrgyz opposition and western reaction to it in its 16 February edition. Only one correction: there is no Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan in the country since June 1993. Its successor is the Party of Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan.

Chairman of the Central Election Commission Sulaiman Imanbaev announced in Bishkek on 15 February that Party of Communists of Kyrgyzstan is now ahead of the other political parties and blocs according to the result of the 3 recent polls held by the vox populi center. Imanbaev said that the Bloc of Democratic Forces is on the second place in the polls. However, according to Sulaimanov, the results would not be yet published officially.

Also, Sulaimanov called all the citizens to take part in the parliamentary elections on 20 February and do their best to hold the elections fair and democratic. The pro-governmental Social Democratic Party, the Party of Economical Revival and the Birimdik Party are united in the Union of Democratic Forces bloc.

Chairman of the Central Election Commission Sulaiman Imanbaev held a news conference in BIshkek on 15 February and said there would be no postponement of the parliamentary elections. To do it, several laws should be amended first. Imanbaev called the appeals on postponement as political games.

On 15 February, several political parties (the Ar-Namys Party, the Party of Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan, the El Party, the Republican Party, the Labor-Popular Party) suggested holding the parliamentary elections on party lists together with the presidential elections, set for next December. According to them, the government is oppressing the opposition parties and politicians, some of the latter have appealed to courts and even if they win legal cases they would have no time to hold normal election campaign by 20 February.

Chairman of the Ar-Namys opposition party Felix Kulov held a news conference in Bishkek on 15 February. According to him, the Interior Ministry opened a lawsuit against him on 20 January and he was acquainted with the case on 9 February. Kulov is accused of embezzlement being the governor of the Chu province several years ago.

According to Kulov, the case is politically motivated and has been fabricated on the eve of the elections. He said he had sent his comprehensive explanations on the case both to the president and the interior ministry. Kulov said also that persecution of the opposition parties and politicians has become stronger after a recent statement by President Askar Akayev that the elections would be held fair and free.

Akayev announced in Bishkek on 8 February that his office and the government would do their best to hold the parliamentary elections fair and democratic. According to him, however, some local authorities make obstacles for opposition candidates and that a "telephone power" is still alive. He demanded from the governors and local authorities to stop persecution of opposition candidates. According to Akayev, he had received a letter from US Vice President Al Gore and Gore expressed his hope that the parliamentary elections in Kyrgyzstan would be held fair and lawfully.

Kulov was vice president of the country early in the 1990s then he served as governor of the Chu province and minister of national security. People call him "a people's general". Most recently, Kulov was mayor of Bishkek and resigned last April accusing President Askar Akayev of undemocratic rule. He formed his own party, the Ar-Namys, and registered it with the Justice Ministry last August. It is the third largest party in the country now but it was not allowed to take part in the elections due to its late registration.

The other opposition party, the Party of Democratic Movement of Kyrgyzstan, co-opted Kulov into its election list on 5 January and Kulov occupied the first place in it. A local court of Bishkek ruled on 5 February that the last party congress, held on 5 January, was illegal and the party could be barred from the elections at last moment. It is expected that the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan will consider a party appeal on 16 February.

The Lenin district court of Bishkek declined a lawsuit by chief editor of the opposition Res Publica weekly against the National Radio and TV Corporation and the other candidate, Mira Jangaracheva. Jangaracheva, vice governor of the Chu Province, and Sydykova are candidates to parliament from the same Kurulush (# 8) single mandate constituency in Bishkek. According to Sydykova, Jangaracheva slandered her during the election campaign and the TV Corporation is campaigning for Jangaracheva.

Sydykova told RFE/RL correspondent in Bishkek on 15 February that it is not possible in Kyrgyzstan to sue governmental bodies and pro-governmental politicians. However, when the opposition politicians are accused, the courts are ready to open legal cases.

Sydykova was accused of insulting President Akayev and sentenced to 18-month suspended imprisonment in 1995. Then, in 1997, she spent several months in prison being convicted of insulting a state manager. Last year, her paper was sentenced to pay 200,000-som fine (about $4,500) for publishing a letter against the president of the National TV and Radio Corporation.

Prosecutor General Asanbek SharshenAliyev announced in Bishkek on 15 February that none of the trials against opposition politicians is politically motivated. The legal cases were opened on the suits by private persons and the law enforcement bodies did not initialized them. He mentioned the two trials - against Daniyar Usenov and Ishenbai Kadyrbekov. Both of them are members of current parliament and registered candidates to a new one.

Chairman of the opposition El (Bei-Bechara) Party Usenov is accused of beating businessman Kengesh Mukaev in 1996 and Mukaev sued him the same year. According to Usenov's lawyers, President Askar Akayev put into effect an amnesty on 19 January 1999 and the case should have been closed early in 1999. However, a court closed the case last October only, after a statement by Mukaev that he had nothing against Usenov. On the eve of the elections, the case was re-opened and Usenov was forced to come to court from hospital on 25 January. He fell ill during the court session and was delivered to hospital intensive therapy ward the same day. The trial was resumed on 8 February and was postponed again the same day due to Usenov's illness. According to unofficial information, authorities have decided not to disturb Usenov until the elections will be over due to protests from human rights organizations.

Kadyrbekov is accused of making physical injuries to MP Tokon Shailieva during a parliamentary session in 1998. Several other parliament members say hat Shailieva herself attacked Kadyrbekov and the latter defended him only. Trial began late in January and was postponed due to Kadyrbekov illness. He is in hospital in Bishkek now and cannot meet his voters in the At-Bashy (#21) single-mandate constituency, the Naryn Province.

A seminar on fighting against poverty was held in Bishkek on 15 February. It was the second seminar on the theme. President Askar Akayev delivered a speech at it. According to him, the government should work out a special complex program on fighting poverty and social protection of population for 2000 - 2010. Main points of the program should be: to determine reasons of poverty, educational and health care activity, social protection of poor, reforms in pension system and creating the new jobs. According to a UN Development Program study released in January, 55 percent of the country population live below the poverty level now.

According to the presidential press service, President Askar Akayev received in Bishkek on 15 February a delegation of the Asian Development Bank, led by Mr. Van Der Linden. Cooperation between the ADB and the Kyrgyz government was discussed. It was announced during the meeting that the ADB has given Kyrgyzstan a package of 350-million-dollar loans since 1994. The money was used for reforms in agriculture, changes in the country infrastructure and for introducing corporate management at industrial enterprises.

A meeting of Kyrgyz veterans of the Afghan war was held in the Ata-Turk Park in Bishkek on 15 February. It was devoted to the 11th anniversary of withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. According to Commander of National Guards General Abdygul Chotbaev, there are now about 7,000 Kyrgyz citizens, who took part in the war. About 200 Kyrgyz citizens were killed in Afghanistan in 1979-1989. Chotbaev took part in the war too and is now chairman of the Society of Afghan War Veterans.