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Kyrgyz Lawmakers Vote To Strip Ex-President Atambaev Of Immunity

Former Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev (file photo)
Former Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev (file photo)

BISHKEK -- The Kyrgyz parliament voted to strip former President Almazbek Atambaev of immunity amid a growing power struggle in the poor Central Asian nation.

The lawmakers approved the resolution 100-to-5 amid claims Atambaev abused his powers while in office. The June 20 vote follows a rash of arrests of former officials close to Atambaev as his successor seeks to consolidate power.

Atambaev ruled Kyrgystan for a six-year term that ended until 2017, helping pass the reigns of power to his former prime minister, Sooronbai Jeenbekov.

While Atambaev expected Jeenbekov would continue his policies, his successor quickly turned against him.

A parliamentary commission this week accused Atambaev of six counts of misconduct, including corruption, prompting the June 20 vote to strip him of immunity.

The process of removing the former president's immunity could take two weeks, lawmaker Kanybek Imanaliev said.

The June 20 decision comes as Jeenbekov’s government pursues officials close to the former president.

Kyrgyz authorities earlier this month arrested Manasbek Arabaev, the ex-chief of the presidential office's department for judicial system reform, on corruption charges.

Sapar Isakov and Jantoro Satybaldiev, both of whom served as prime minister under Atambaev, have also been charged with corruption.

Last year, Kyrgyz officials arrested Adamkul Junusov, the former customs chief, and Ikramjan Ilmiyanov, a former adviser, on similar charges.

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