Kyrgyzstan: Defense Official Slams Inquiry into June Violence
Kyrgyzstan’s new leaders often act frightfully like the old. Parliament is loaded with ousted presidents’ officials, due process is fiction, and the media is frequently the object of state-sanctioned contempt.
Now, taking his cue from Central Asia’s despot playbook, MP Ismail Isakov, the interim government’s defense minister during ethnic violence last summer, says a legally non-binding report has insulted him. Therefore, he will sue.
General Ismail Isakov, who was President Roza Otunbaeva's defense minister and special representative in the south during the unrest, said in Bishkek that the National Commission's conclusions -- in which he was cited as one of the government leaders responsible for allowing the clashes to take place -- are "superficial and groundless."
Isakov -- who is a parliament deputy -- said the commission's conclusions have impacted negatively on his "personal dignity and honor" and so he will defend himself in court.
The National Commission made public the results of its investigation on January 11. It identified several members of the then Kyrgyz interim government as responsible for the violence, including Isakov and governors and local leaders in the Osh and Jalal-Abad oblasts.
Isakov is a high-ranking member of the ruling Social Democratic Party and heads parliament's defense committee. Some of the earliest protests that eventually unseated President Kurmanbek Bakiyev started in Isakov’s native Alai District last winter, when Bakiyev imprisoned him on dubious corruption charges. (Alai is a predominantly ethnic Kyrgyz area near Osh that some respected reports say fed the violence with angry, armed young men.)
Popular among the defensive nationalists who seek to blame Uzbeks for the summer’s violence, Isakov has done everything possible to thwart an independent inquiry, like fanning protests against the deployment of foreign police advisors in Osh.
Despite being Bakiyev’s prisoner, it seems, Isakov has forgotten the narrow difference between Kyrgyz justice and a joke.
David Trilling is Eurasianet’s managing editor.