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Kazakh President Awards Pilot For Flying Ousted Kyrgyz Leader

Former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev in Minsk
Former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev in Minsk
ASTANA -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has given the pilot who flew the ousted Kyrgyz president out of Kyrgyzstan last month a special state award, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Nazarbaev gave senior pilot Igor Beilin the Aibyn (Glory) Order of the second degree today for flying Kurmanbek Bakiev from the southern Kyrgyz city of Jalal-Abad to the Kazakh town of Taraz on April 15.

Other members of the military plane's crew were awarded with less prestigious state medals on May 6.

Bakiev -- who fled the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, during deadly clashes between antigovernment protesters and security forces on April 7 -- is currently in Belarus. Nazarbaev stated after Bakiev arrived in Kazakhstan that his departure "prevented bloodshed in Kyrgyzstan."

Kyrgyz authorities have officially asked Belarus to extradite Bakiev, who along with his relatives is wanted by Kyrgyzstan's interim government for alleged corruption and the bloodshed that occurred on April 7.

Twenty former officials from Bakiev's government have thus far been arrested in Kyrgyzstan.

More than 80 people were killed and hundreds injured in the clashes between protesters and police.