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Kyrgyz Investigators Question Ex-PM Isakov For Third Time


Former Prime Minister Sapar Isakov says he's "clean" and doesn't fear arrest.

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz investigators have interrogated former Prime Minister Sapar Isakov for a third time over a power-plant accident that left many residents of Bishkek without heat for days last winter.

"I have no fear of being detained. To detain someone, you need grounds, for example when a person violates the laws. I'm clean," Isakov told RFE/RL outside the State Committee for National Security (UKMK) building in Bishkek, where he was summoned on May 29.

Isakov had already been questioned twice over the accident at the Bishkek Thermal Power Station -- which left thousands of households without heat in bitterly cold weather -- since his cabinet was dismissed on April 19 after a no-confidence vote.

Isakov has suggested he believes the state may mount a corruption case against former officials over the heating outages, but said former President Almazbek Atambaev and his team had "worked in a clean way, with no corruption whatsoever."

The pressure on Isakov was seen as among several examples of an ongoing rift between President Sooronbai Jeenbekov and his predecessor, Atambaev, who backed Jeenbekov in the October 2017 presidential election but has criticized him in recent weeks.

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

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