BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan's former president, Almazbek Atambaev, has been formally summoned for a third time by the Interior Ministry in Bishkek for questioning in an unspecified criminal investigation -- a move that comes after he refused to comply with two earlier subpoenas.
Police on July 18 delivered the third subpoena to Atambaev's representative in front of the former president's residential compound in the village of Koi-Tash near Bishkek.
The subpoena says 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 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 in Bishkek so far the authorities have not attempted to detain Atambaev.
Atambaev's lawyer, Sergei 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 rallied to demand all of the charges against him be dropped.