Kyrgyz police detained former President Almazbek Atambayev on Thursday after an earlier arrest attempt in which security forces were forced back by a hail of bullets from political supporters barricaded inside his rural home near the capitalDiplomat:
The former president refused to obey three subpoenas from the Interior Ministry this summer for questioning as part of a criminal probe, presumably as a “witness” in the Aziz Batukayev case.
Batukayev, a notorious ethnic Chechen crime boss, was released from Kyrgyz prison in 2013. At the time, the release was reportedly granted to allow him to pursue treatment for leukemia. But the leukemia diagnosis that got him out of jail was fraudulent.
Atambayev, who was president at the time of Batukayev’s release, is facing a bevvy of charges beyond the matter of the unlawful release of Batukayev, including corruption, lobbying on behalf of a Chinese company involved in the ill-fated modernization of the Bishkek Power Plant, involvement in supplying coal to the plant, and illegal receipt of a plot of land in Koi-Tash.
Atambayev stepped down in late 2017 after the election of his chosen successor, Sooronbay Jeenbekov. But in the months after the democratic transition, a feud between Jeenebkov and Atambayev developed. The new president removed Atambayev’s allies from government and Atambayev harshly criticized his successor’s decisions.