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Former Top Kyrgyz Security Official Taken Into Custody

Murat Sutalinov, former head of the Kyrgyz national security service
Murat Sutalinov, former head of the Kyrgyz national security service
BISHKEK -- The former chief of the Kyrgyz State Committee for National Security (UKMK) has been taken into custody after he unexpectedly showed up in court where he was being tried in absentia, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

General Murat Sutalinov was arrested and taken into custody on December 15, a day after he appeared in court in Bishkek and was placed under house arrest.

Sutalinov, 48, headed the national security service from 2006 to 2010. He disappeared after mass protests in April 2010 that led to the ouster of then President Kurmanbek Bakiev.

Sutalinov went on trial in absentia in November 2010, together with Bakiev and other former senior officials, on charges of either having fired upon or having given the command to open fire on unarmed protesters.

On December 15, Ombudsman Tursunbek Akun formally protested the decision to place Sutalinov under house arrest.

Dozens of activists representing those who died during April 2010 protests staged rallies in Bishkek the same day to demand that Sutalinov be taken into custody.

Sutalinov's lawyer, Kubanychbek Tashbaltaev, told RFE/RL on December 16 that he was arrested late on December 15 on a charge of illegally crossing the border.

It is not known where Sutalinov has been hiding since April 2010.

Read more in Kyrgyz here

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