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13 Aug, 2010 13:48

Kyrgyzstan authorities strip former president Akayev of immunity

Kyrgyzstan’s former president Askar Akayev has been stripped of his immunity. The first president of Kyrgyzstan has been deprived of his ex-presidential status as well.

The head of the interim government Roza Otunbayeva signed the relevant decree on August 12, 2010.

The news was first reported on Friday by the 24.kg news agency with reference to the Kyrgyz interim government’s press-office.

According to the document, former president Akayev is accused of numerous grave crimes. At his presidential command, police used lethal weapons against civilians. Also, Kyrgyzstan gave up parts of its territory to China and Kazakhstan under Akayev’s rule, which the interim government considers a crime: the destruction of national wealth. Another formal charge against the former president is “usurping the power of the state by means of referenda.”

The interim government authorized Kyrgyz General Prosecutor Office to assume all necessary measures to bring the former president to justice. However, the Prosecutor’s Office has not been prescribed to start Akayev’s extradition process, the head of the legal body’s department, Sumar Asiza, told “Interfax” news agency. If the General Prosecutor’s Office gets an order to open a criminal case against Askar Akayev it will send an extradition request, based on the Minsk convention of 1995, to Russia.

In March, 2005, street protests against the allegedly rigged elections (dubbed the “Tulip Revolution”) broke out in Kyrgyzstan, forcing President Akayev with his family to flee to Moscow, where he currently resides. A prominent mathematician, he holds a professor’s position at Moscow State University. In press interviews, Akayev has said that he was not going to return to Kyrgyzstan.

In a Friday interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio, the former president blasted the latest decision as illegal. “This decree of the non-existent interim Kyrgyz government is an illegal anti-constitutional document. According to the newly-adopted constitution, the republic’s parliament is the only body that can take any measures related to the president or a former president, and only on the parliament’s charge. Nowadays, there is no parliament in Kyrgyzstan. It was dissolved by the interim government – a junta that came to power in April, 2010 – so there are no grounds for bringing any accusations against me,” Askar Akayev said.

Being the first Kyrgyz president elected, Askar Akayev was not the first Kyrgyz president to be deprived of his privileges. Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who became Kyrgyzstan’s president in March, 2005, was toppled after anti-governmental riots in April 2010 and fled to Belarus. The interim government stripped Bakiyev of his immunity and the General Prosecutor’s Office of Kyrgyzstan sent an extradition request to Minsk. However, the Belarusian authorities refused Bakiyev’s extradition.