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Kyrgyz Supreme Court Rules Ex-Presidents' Immunity Unconstitutional

Sooronbai Jeenbekov (left) and Almazbek Atambaev have fallen out since the former's inauguration in November.

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court has ruled that the immunity enjoyed by the country's former presidents is unconstitutional.

The court's Constitutional Chamber issued the ruling on October 3, and ordered the government to initiate amendments to cancel the immunity for ex-presidents from the legislation that regulates presidential activities and responsibilities.

Only two former Kyrgyz leaders currently enjoy the official status of ex-presidents: Roza Otunbaeva, who was interim president in 2010-11, and Almazbek Atambaev, who ran the Central Asian state in 2011-17.

Two other ex-presidents, Askar Akaev and Kurmanbek Bakiev, were stripped of the status when they fled Kyrgyzstan following antigovernment protests in 2005 and 2010, respectively.

Both have been sentenced in absentia to lengthy prison terms on different charges, including corruption and abuse of office.

Atambaev, who left the presidency in November 2017, has been at odds with current President Sooronbai Jeenbekov.

Jeenbekov is an ex-prime minister who was tapped by Atambaev as his favored successor in the October 2017 presidential election.

Two of Atambaev's close allies, former Prime Ministers Sapar Isakov and Jantoro Satybaldiev, who served during his presidency, were arrested in June on corruption charges.

In April, Jeenbekov fired several other Atambaev allies, including Prosecutor-General Indira Joldubaeva and UKMK security service head Abdil Segizbaev, who had been criticized for a crackdown on opposition politicians and independent journalists.

Some politicians and lawmakers have called in recent months for investigation of some of Atambaev's decisions while in office.