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Former Kyrgyz President's Ally Under House Arrest For Role In Deadly Standoff

Irina Karamushkina (file photo)
Irina Karamushkina (file photo)

BISHKEK -- One of former Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev's closest allies, lawmaker Irina Karamushkina, has been placed under house arrest on charges of hostage taking during a violent standoff between law enforcement and Atambaev's supporters earlier in August, and being an accomplice to a crime.

The Birinchi Mai district court ruled late on August 22 that Karamushkina must be remanded under house arrest until October 8 in connection with the charges.

Karamushkina told journalists after the court ruling was pronounced that she will "continue to struggle for justice and truth in a legal way."

Karamushkina was at Atambaev's residential compound in a village near Bishkek on August 7-8 when the former president's supporters clashed with security forces who were attempting to detain Atambaev.

The move was sparked by the former president's refusal to obey three subpoenas summoning him to the Interior Ministry for questioning.

Kyrgyz authorities had initially said that Atambaev faced five counts of criminally abusing his office during his 2011-2017 term.

Atambaev surrendered to security troops and police on August 8 and is currently under arrest.

Because of the violent siege, he was additionally charged with violence against representatives of the state, organizing mass unrest, masterminding a murder attempt, hostage taking, and illegal use of firearms.

The standoff between security forces and his supporters resulted in the death of a top security officer and more than 170 injuries -- 79 of them sustained by law enforcement officers.

The violence underscored a power struggle between Atambaev and his hand-picked successor, Sooronbai Jeenbekov, that has raised fears of instability in the Central Asian country.