Kyrgyz top officials stand trial for April bloodshed

Former Kyrgyz President, Kurmanbek Bakiyev has been accused of a number of serious crimes including abuse of power, complicity in murder and attempted murder.

The republic’s former leader and 27 other once top officials are standing trial in Bishkek for the deaths of 87 protesters during a mass uprising in April this year, which resulted in Bakiyev being overthrown.

Six of the suspects on trial – including Kurmanbek Bakiyev, his brother Zhanybek and elder son Marat – have fled the country and are being tried in absentia. The former president is currently believed to be sheltering in Belarus, where he was granted asylum by President Aleksandr Lukashenko.

The biggest ever trial in the history of the former Soviet republic is taking place in the capital’s Palace of Sports.

Kurmanbek Bakiyev is suspected of giving the order to open fire on protesters as a result of which dozens were killed and many others wounded.His younger brother Zhanybek – who headed the state guard service – is believed to be the organizer of the “mass murder”. According to the prosecution, he was instructing snipers via walkie-talkie to shoot at citizens protesting on Bishkek’s central square on April 7.

"Aside from complicity in homicide, [Kurmanbek] Bakiyev has also been accused of the illegal creation of a number of state structures, specifically, the State Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the structure of the State Adviser for Security and the Central Agency for Development, Innovations and Investments," the public prosecutor said on Tuesday, cites Itar-Tass.

In addition, prosecutors believe that the former president of the Central Asian republic is linked to the killing of six demonstrators in March 2002. Back then Bakiyev was heading the government and issued a decree that put into effect “Typhoon” and “Buran” plans as a result of which police opened fire on peaceful protesters in the district of Aksyi.

Meanwhile, three other suspects – including ex-Prosecutor General Nurlan Tursunkulov and former head of the presidential secretariat OksanaMalevannaya – who were under home arrest managed to escape on Monday in order to avoid trial. After they did not turn up for the court hearing, it was discovered that they and their family members had left their homes. Their current whereabouts are unknown.

The trial began last week, but was suspended before beginning again on Monday, following clashes between the police and relatives of those killed in April who demand revenge.The defendants’ lawyers refused to participate in the hearings unless their security is ensured.