BISHKEK – Former Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sapar Isakov, who is already serving 15 years in prison, has appeared before a court in Bishkek to face new corruption charges.
Isakov was forcibly brought from a detention center in the capital to the Birinchi Mai District Court to attend the first hearing on December 17.
Judge Marat Sydykov issued the order after Isakov refused to take part in the trial, calling it "illegal."
Isakov and five co-defendants are suspected of misusing state funds allocated to the renovation of Bishkek’s National History Museum and a hippodrome in the northern town of Cholpon-Ata.
On December 6, another court in Bishkek sentenced Isakov and another former prime minister, Jantoro Satybaldiev, to 15 and seven years in prison, respectively, on corruption charges stemming from their involvement in a 2013 project to modernize the Bishkek Thermal Power Station.
The high-profile corruption trials have implicated several former top Kyrgyz officials who allegedly are close associates of former President Almazbek Atambaev.
The probes were launched amid tensions between Atambaev and current incumbent Sooronbai Jeenbekov, a former prime minister who was tapped by Atambaev as his favored successor in Kyrgyzstan's October 2017 presidential election.
Atambaev was arrested on August 8 after he surrendered to police following two days of violent resistance following his refusal to show up in police headquarters for questioning in an unrelated case.