Kyrgyzstan

Kyrgyz ex-president rearrested after jail escape

Agence France-Presse, Agence France-Presse
Kyrgyz ex-president rearrested after jail escape

Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov wearing a face mask casts his ballot at a polling station during parliamentary election in Bishkek on October 4, 2020, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Vladimir VORONIN / POOL / AFP)

Former Kyrgyzstan president Almazbek Atambayev is arrested over suspicion of organizing mass disorder

Kyrgyzstan’s security service said Saturday, October 10, that it had rearrested former president Almazbek Atambayev after supporters freed him from jail during post-election protests.

The arrest came as the incumbent president Sooronbay Jeenbekov reasserted control following unrest after a disputed parliamentary election in which several prominent politicians were freed.

The state national security committee said in a statement that Atambayev had been arrested on suspicion of organizing mass disorder, along with one of his bodyguards and another accomplice.

The committee was currently “identifying and arresting other accomplices of this crime”, it said.

Atambayev’s spokeswoman Kunduz Joldubayeva also confirmed his arrest, telling Agence France-Presse by telephone that “special forces stormed (Atambayev’s) compound” outside Bishkek.

“They arrested the former president,” Joldubayeva said.

President Jeenbekov on Friday ordered a state of emergency in the country’s capital Bishkek, as shots were fired and at least five people injured in clashes between supporters of groups competing to form a government.

The 61-year-old president said on Friday, October 9, he was “ready to resign,” but only after law and order had been restored – a pledge some critics described as a tactical maneuver.

The instability came after supporters of Jeenbekov won parliamentary elections on Sunday, October 4, that the opposition and monitors said had been marred by vote-buying.

Although the result was subsequently annulled by the electoral authorities, this failed to quell unrest.

After a protest rally led by losing parties descended into violence, Atambayev was one of several politicians released by supporters. A former prime minister and a nationalist ex-lawmaker were also freed from jail.

Kyrgyzstan, an impoverished ally of Russia that looks to next-door China for trade and investment, has seen two presidents overthrown by street protests since independence from the Soviet Union. – Rappler.com