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Atambaev Again Refuses To Obey Subpoena, May Be Detained For Questioning


Former Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev (file photo)

BISHKEK -- Former Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev has refused for the second time to obey a subpoena for questioning at the Interior Ministry in Bishkek in an unspecified criminal investigation, opening the way for authorities to detain him for interrogation.

Officials from Kyrgyzstan's Interior Ministry delivered the second subpoena to Atambaev's residential compound in the village of Koi-Tash near Bishkek late on July 10.

It called for him to report to police on July 11 "as a witness" in a criminal investigation, but did not disclose details about the case.

Atambaev ignored the first subpoena earlier on July 9, saying "the authorities' decisions about me are illegal."

Atambaev faces five charges of misconduct in office when he was president from 2011 to 2017, including corruption, abuse of office, and illegally enriching himself.

Atambaev has rejected all the accusations against him, saying they are politically motivated.

Under Kyrgyz law, a person who refuses to obey two subpoenas can be forcibly detained for questioning.

In an interview with RFE/RL on July 11, Atambaev's lawyer Sergei Slesarev reiterated his client's stance, saying that a June 27 parliamentary vote stripping Atambaev of his immunity from prosecution was illegal.

According to Slesarev's argument, amendments made in May to Kyrgyzstan's law on the immunity of former presidents are unconstitutional.

Kyrgyz lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to lift Atambaev's immunity, clearing the way for his prosecution.

Atambaev has spent most of his time since the June 27 vote at his residential compound in Koi-Tash. He has publicly stated that he has weapons.

On July 3, Atambaev left his compound to speak at a rally in Bishkek where about 1,000 of his supporters showed up to demand that all the charges against him be dropped.

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