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Pressure Mounts As Kyrgyz Ex-PM Isakov Questioned Again


Former Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sapar Isakov (file photo)

BISHKEK -- Former Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sapar Isakov has been summoned for a second round of questioning over a power-plant accident that left many residents of Bishkek without heat for days last winter.

Entering the State Committee for National Security (UKMK) building on May 14, Isakov urged the authorities to keep politics out of the case and said that a biased investigation "will not lead us to anything good."

It was the second time Isakov has been questioned 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.

The pressure on Isakov is among several pieces of evidence of a rift between President Sooronbai Jeenbekov and his predecessor Almazbek Atambaev, who backed Jeenbekov in the October presidential election but has criticized him in recent weeks.

Speaking to journalists on his way into the UKMK building, Isakov suggested that he believes the state may mount a corruption case against former officials over the heating outages, but said that would be ill-advised.

"Almazbek Atambaev and his team worked in a clean way, with no corruption whatsoever," he said, adding that "Jeenbekov was also in his team and he knows that Atambaev had nothing to do with corruption as he fought against corruption himself."

Isakov was initially summoned for questioning on April 26, a week after he and his government were dismissed. Isakov's successor, Mukhammedkalyi Abylgaziev, and his government were sworn in on April 25.

Earlier in April, 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.

Atambaev, who was limited to a single presidential term by the Central Asian country's constitution, initially kept a low profile after leaving office in November.

But following his election as head of the ruling Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK) on March 31, he has publicly criticized Jeenbekov on several occasions.

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