BISHKEK -- Former Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev has refused for the third time to obey a subpoena for questioning at the Interior Ministry in Bishkek in an unspecified criminal investigation, a move that could prompt authorities to detain him for questioning.
Atambaev's lawyer, Sergei Slesarev, told RFE/RL that his client refused to go to the Interior Ministry for questioning on July 19 because parliament’s decision last month to strip Atambaev of his immunity from prosecution was illegal.
Officials from Kyrgyzstan's Interior Ministry delivered the third subpoena to Atambaev's residential compound in the village of Koi-Tash, near Bishkek, on July 18.
It said Atambaev must visit the ministry for questioning "as a witness at 10 a.m. on July 19" as part of a criminal investigation. The subpoena did not disclose details about the case.
Atambaev also ignored two subpoenas earlier in July, claiming that the decisions by authorities about him were "illegal."
Atambaev faces five counts of criminally abusing his office when he was Kyrgyzstan's president from 2011 to 2017 -- including corruption, abuse of office, and illegally enriching himself.
Atambaev has rejected all the charges against him, saying they are politically motivated.
Under Kyrgyz law, a person who refuses to comply with two subpoenas can be forcibly detained for questioning. But authorities in Bishkek so far have not attempted to detain Atambaev.
Slesarev claims a June 27 parliamentary vote that stripped Atambaev of his immunity from prosecution was illegal.
Slesarev argues that amendments made in May to Kyrgyzstan's law on the immunity of former presidents are unconstitutional.
Kyrgyz lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to remove Atambaev's immunity in a move that cleared the way for his prosecution.
Atambaev has spent most of his time since the June 27 parliamentary 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 demanded that all of the charges against him be dropped.