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Kyrgyz Ex-President Jeenbekov To Sue Jailed Activist For Slander

Melis Aspekov
Melis Aspekov

BISHKEK -- Former Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov plans to sue jailed opposition activist Melis Aspekov for his accusation that current President Sadyr Japarov received $10 million from Jeenbekov's family for his election campaign.

Jeenbekov's lawyer Asylbek Kochkorov said on May 14 that his client will file a slander suit against Aspekov over the comments.

"Aspekov is trying to mislead the public by spreading false information and using the names of famous people in the country. We will take him to court for slander," Kochkorov said.

Kochkorov's statement came hours after Aspekov, who is currently being held by the State Committee for National Security (UKMK) on extortion charges, made the allegation on Facebook.

Aspekov and fellow activist Ulan Juraev were arrested on January 10, the day Japarov won the presidential election. The two were charged with extorting $250,000 from the Kyrgyz Railways company, which the activists have rejected as politically motivated.

Jeenbekov resigned as president in mid-October in the wake of a political crisis caused by mass protests in Bishkek following parliamentary elections seen by many in the Central Asian country as rigged.

Japarov was among several prominent politicians freed from prison by protesters during the unrest.

He had been serving a 10-year prison sentence for hostage taking during a protest against a mining operation in northeast Kyrgyzstan in October 2013. He maintains the charges against him were politically motivated.

After Jeenbekov's resignation, Japarov was named acting president and prime minister. He then stepped down to be eligible for the presidential poll on January 10, which he won easily.

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