Former Kyrgyz President Atambaev Charged With Killing Security Officer

Former Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev has been charged with killing a security officer during a two-day standoff between security forces and supporters of the former leader in August.

Interior Minister Kashkar Junushaliev said on December 13 that Atambaev had been formally informed that he is suspected of lethally shooting Colonel Usenbek Niyazbekov, a father of six, during the raid on Atambaev’s compound in the village of Koi-Tash near Bishkek on August 7.

According to Junushaliev, ballistic tests revealed that Niyazbekov was shot in the chest by a sniper rifle registered to Atambaev.

Atambaev himself told journalists on August 8 that he was the only one in the compound who had guns and that he was the only one who shot firearms during clashes between riot police and Atambaev’s supporters.

Security officials were sent to Atambaev’s compound after he refused to obey three subpoenas calling him to the Interior Ministry for questioning in an investigation over his alleged involvement in the illegal release of a jailed organized-crime boss in 2013.

Atambaev was arrested on August 8 after he surrendered to police following a violent two-day resistance.

He was charged with using violence against representatives of the state, organizing mass unrest, masterminding a murder attempt, hostage taking, and corruption.

The resistance by the former president and his supporters resulted in the death of the 47-year-old Niyazbekov and injuries to more than 170 others, including 79 law enforcement officers.

The violence underscored a power struggle between Atambaev and his handpicked successor, Sooronbai Jeenbekov, which has raised fears of instability in the Central Asian nation.

Based on reporting by Kloop and Vecherny Bishkek
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Copyright (c) 2014. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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