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Two More Charges Brought Against Jailed Former Kyrgyz President Atambaev

A mugshot of former Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev taken by police after his arrest on August 8.
A mugshot of former Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev taken by police after his arrest on August 8.

BISHKEK -- Prosecutors in Kyrgyzstan have added two more charges against former President Almazbek Atambaev, a week after a siege of his residential compound left one police officer dead and scores injured.

Atambaev's lawyer Sergei Slesarev told RFE/RL on August 14 that his client had been told he has been charged with corruption allegedly committed during the modernization of the Bishkek Thermal Power Station and during the privatization of a Forum building in the capital, Bishkek.

The new charges come a day after the Prosecutor-General's Office charged the jailed 62-year-old with using violence against state representatives, organizing mass unrest, murder, and attempted murder.

Slesarev added that Atambaev refused to sign papers from the Military Prosecutor’s Office acknowledging the new charges.

Atambaev surrendered to police on August 8 following a deadly two-day standoff with security forces at his residential compound in the village of Koi-Tash near Bishkek.

Video Captures Kyrgyz Ex-President's Surrender To Security Forces
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The violence underscored a power struggle between Atambaev and his handpicked successor, Sooronbai Jeenbekov, that has raised fears of instability in the Central Asian nation.

The move to detain Atambaev was sparked by his refusal to obey three subpoenas calling him to the Interior Ministry for questioning.

Kyrgyz authorities had said that Atambaev faced five counts of criminally abusing his office when he was Kyrgyzstan's president from 2011 to 2017 -- including corruption, abuse of office, and illegally enriching himself.

The storming of the compound came after Deputy Interior Minister Mirlan Kanimetov and several other officials visited Atambaev on July 22 after he had refused to obey a subpoena for a third time.

Kyrgyz Ex-President Detained After Special-Forces Officer Dies In Raid On His Compound
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Under Kyrgyz law, a person who refuses to comply with two subpoenas can be forcibly detained for questioning.

After parliament on June 27 voted to strip immunity from prosecution for former presidents, the embattled Atambaev had spent most of his time at his residential compound and publicly stated that he had weapons.

Slesarev has called the immunity vote unconstitutional.

Kyrgyzstan saw a smooth and peaceful transfer of power from Atambaev to Jeenbekov, which was welcomed by the international community after two other presidential changes -- in 2005 and 2010 -- came after violent rioting.

The former Soviet republic remains closely allied with Russia, which operates a military base in the northern Kyrgyz town of Kant.

Last month Atambaev flew on a private plane to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.