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Ex-Kyrgyz Health Minister Detained Over Early Prison Release Of Notorious Crime Boss

Dinara Sagynbaeva has been detained for questioning. (file photo)
Dinara Sagynbaeva has been detained for questioning. (file photo)

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan's former health minister, Dinara Sagynbaeva, has been detained for questioning about the early release from prison in 2013 of one of Kyrgyzstan's most notorious crime bosses, Aziz Batukaev.

In a May 15 statement, the Interior Ministry said Sagynbaeva "was placed in pretrial detention" on suspicion in involvement in Batukaev's "illegal early release."

Sagynbaeva served as health minister when Batukaev was granted his early release after being diagnosed with leukemia in 2013. His diagnosis was later found to have been falsified.

According to the Interior Ministry, several other unnamed former Kyrgyz government officials have also been detained in the case.

Batukaev's release in April 2013 caused a scandal that led to the resignation of then-Deputy Prime Minister Shamil Atakhanov and the firing of the country's ombudsman.

Batukaev, an ethnic Chechen, was sentenced in 2006 to nearly 17 years in prison for his involvement in several serious crimes -- including the murders of a Kyrgyz lawmaker and an Interior Ministry official.

After his release, Batukaev immediately left for Chechnya.

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