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Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court Reinstates Former President Atambaev's Prison Sentence

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

BISHKEK -- The Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan has reinstated former President Almazbek Atambaev's 11-year prison sentence over the illegal release of a notorious crime boss in 2013.

Atambaev's lawyer, Zamir Zhooshev, told RFE/RL that Atambaev's defense team received the Supreme Court decision on October 19, a week after the actual ruling was made.

Aziz Batukaev in 2006
Aziz Batukaev in 2006

In June 2020, Atambaev, 65, was sentenced to 11 years and two months in prison for his role in the release of Aziz Batukaev.

Batukaev, who was unexpectedly freed from prison in 2013 and immediately left the Central Asian nation for Russia, was convicted of several notorious crimes, including the murders of a Kyrgyz lawmaker and an Interior Ministry official.

In November 2020, the Supreme Court sent the case back to a Bishkek district court for retrial. It gave no reason for the decision. The Kyrgyz Prosecutor-General's Office appealed the move.

Atambaev, who has long denied any wrongdoing, was arrested in August 2019 after he surrendered to police following a deadly two-day standoff between security forces and his supporters.

The move to detain Atambaev was sparked by his refusal to obey three summons to appear at the Interior Ministry for questioning involving Batukaev’s release.

The standoff between security forces and his supporters resulted in the death of a top security officer and more than 170 injuries -- 79 of them sustained by law enforcement officers.

Atambaev is currently on trial in another case linked to the 2019 violence. He and 13 others are charged with murder, attempted murder, threatening or assaulting representatives of the authorities, hostage-taking, and the forcible seizure of power.

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