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Kyrgyzstan: Prosecutions Thin Ranks of Presidential Contenders

Omurbek Tekebayev, the leader of the Ata-Meken party, in a courtroom cage during his trial. (Photo: Official website of the Ata-Meken party)

Two major names in Kyrgyzstani politics have been sentenced to long terms in jail so far in August. Local analysts contend the cases are politically motivated.
 
With presidential election coming up in mid-October, analysts argue the timing of the convictions is not coincidental. They suggest that the cases likely were intended to help members of the ruling elite retain their grip on power.
 
The most recent case involved the leader of the Ata-Meken party, Omurbek Tekebayev. On August 16, he was sentenced to eight years in jail — but is being ordered to serve only four-and-a-half years as a result of an amnesty — at the end of a corruption trial involving a Russian businessman and a mobile telecommunications company.
 
And at the start of August, a court in Bishkek sentenced former MP Sadyr Japarov to 11-and-a-half years in a high-security prison for purportedly kidnapping a governor during unrest in the Issyk-Kul region in 2013. Japarov boasts notable support in some areas of the country, mainly the south.
 
Both politicians were jailed on the basis of alleged wrongdoings committed many years earlier.
 

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Kyrgyzstan: Prosecutions Thin Ranks of Presidential Contenders

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