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Kyrgyz Authorities Probe Atambaev's Eavesdropping Accusations

Almazbek Atambaev (file photo)
Almazbek Atambaev (file photo)

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz authorities have launched a probe into claims by former President Almazbek Atambaev that his office was bugged by the State Committee for National Security (UKMK).

The Military Prosecutor's Office said on May 30 that Atambaev filed a formal complaint on May 27. If proven true, the allegations would amount to a violation of laws on privacy, private correspondence, and abuse of office.

Aprel (April) television station, a media outlet associated with Atambaev, on May 23 broadcast a video of a man claiming that UKMK officers had forced him to install eavesdropping systems in the offices of Atambaev and the former chief of the presidential administration, Farid Niyazov.

The UKMK has denied the claims.

The report was broadcast four days before legislation allowing the prosecution of former heads of state came into force on May 27.

The legislation was ratified by President Sooronbai Jeenbekov in mid-May amid calls by some politicians for an investigation into decisions made by his predecessor when he was in office.

Limited to a single six-year term by the constitution, Atambaev tapped Jeenbekov, his former prime minister, as his favored candidate in the October 2017 presidential election.

But the two have had a public falling out and have criticized each other for more than a year. Several associates of Atambaev have been arrested on corruption charges.

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