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Jailed Kyrgyz Ex-President Says Pondering Parliamentary Run


Former Kyrgyzstan President Almazbek Atambaev (file photo)

BISHKEK -- Jailed former Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev says he is weighing whether to run as a candidate in upcoming parliamentary elections.

Atambaev made the remark in response to a question from RFE/RL as he was brought into court in Bishkek on September 27 for a trial in a case related to a deadly two-day standoff between security forces and his supporters in August 2019 that led to the death of a top security officer and more than 170 injured.

"I do not need a mandate. But people have asked me to be among the first to register for the election. I am thinking about that. If I take part, then my participation will be symbolic," Atambaev said.

Abdyjapar Bekmatov, a member of Kyrgyzstan's Central Election Commission, told RFE/RL that anyone convicted of a crime or on trial is barred from running for office in the Central Asian nation.

Kyrgyzstan is scheduled to hold parliamentary elections on November 28.

Atambaev and 13 other people are charged with murder, attempted murder, threatening or assaulting representatives of the authorities, hostage taking, and the forcible seizure of power in the high-profile trial.

It did not open as scheduled on September 27 but was postponed until September 29 due to the failure of one of the defendants’ lawyers to turn up in court.

The trial has been postponed several times since April.

In June 2020, Atambaev, 65, was sentenced to 11 years and two months in prison for his role in the release of a notorious crime boss.

Later that year in November, the Supreme Court sent that case back to a Bishkek district court for retrial, although it gave no reason for that decision.

Atambaev has long denied any wrongdoing.

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