13 August 2019
The rift between former president Almazbek Atambayev and his successor and former protégé President Sooronbai Jeenbekov, risks destabilising the Central Asian nation. On the second day of clashes, the police detained the ex-president and a court in Kyrgyzstan has ordered him to be held in pretrial detention. The authorities had sought Atambayev’s detention due to his refusal to obey three subpoenas to appear as a “witness.”
Jeenbekov purged all Atambayev loyalists from the Cabinet.
When the police attempted to arrest Atambayev his armed supporters clashed with the police which left one policeman dead and nearly 80 people injured.
Last month Atambayev travelled to Russia but failed to get the support of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is aligned to Sooronbai Jeenbekov. Last month Vladimir Putin met with both Jeenbekov and Atambayev in Moscow in a bid to defuse the confrontation. Putin called on everyone to unite around the current president and help him develop the country.
He is charged with corruption in the modernization of the Bishkek thermal power station, illegal sale of land plots and distribution of weapons, usurpation of power and other crimes. Atambayev has also been accused of corruption in releasing Aziz Batukayev due to his terminal cancer, who was serving a 16-year prison term on charges of owning illegal weapons and drugs and taking part in mass riots.
Atambayev and several of his former prime ministers have also been charged with corruption. In June Atambayev was stripped of his presidential immunity, a concession offered to top Kyrgyzstan politicians to encourage a peaceful transition of power.