BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan's highest court has upheld a suspended prison sentence against opposition politician and former Prosecutor-General Aida Salyanova.
The Supreme Court heard Salyanova’s appeal on May 22, after the Bishkek city court confirmed in February her suspended five-year prison sentence.
Following that ruling, the Central Election Commission on March 3 deprived her of her legislative mandate.
Salyanova, a legislator from the Ata-Meken (Fatherland) party, was initially convicted and sentenced in October 2017 by Bishkek's Lenin district court, which also ordered the confiscation of her property. However, the court postponed her imprisonment until her 2-year-old daughter reaches the age of 14.
Salyanova was accused of illegally extending the license of a lawyer with links to then-President Kurmanbek Bakiev's son Maksim shortly before Bakiev's ouster in 2010. She was prosecutor-general at the time.
Salyanova has maintained her innocence, saying the case against her was politically motivated.
Her conviction came amid political tensions just five days before the October 2017 presidential election.
Authorities targeted Salyanova in an investigation in March 2017, just days after Ata-Meken leader Omurbek Tekebaev was arrested on what his supporters say were trumped-up bribery charges.
Tekebaev, who was nominated as Ata-Meken's presidential candidate shortly after his arrest, was convicted in August 2017 and sentenced to eight years in prison.
His supporters say the conviction was aimed at preventing him from running in the election.
In November, several masked men shot Salyanova's brother dead in his home, according to the Interior Ministry, which at the time overruled a political motive for the shooting.
Deputy Interior Minister Kursan Asanov on May 18 said that two suspects in the killing of 42-year-old Ulan Salyanov had been detained in Kyrgyzstan and Russia. A third suspect, a Russian citizen, was still on the loose, Asanov said.