24 Oct 2019 14:45

Kyrgyz Supreme Court upholds ex-President Atambayev's deprivation of immunity as lawful

BISHKEK. Oct 24 (Interfax) - The Constitutional Chamber of the Kyrgyz Supreme Court has upheld the amendments to the law on guarantees of presidential activity, which deprived former Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev of his immunity, as constitutional, an Interfax correspondent reported on Thursday.

"The Constitutional Chamber has recognized the amendments to the law on guarantees of presidential activity as constitutional," Constitutional Chamber Deputy Chairman Emil Oskonbayev said as he was reading out the ruling.

The ruling of the Constitutional Chamber is final and non-appealable, the judge said.

Last Wednesday, the Constitutional Chamber of the Kyrgyz Supreme Court started hearing the application for recognizing unconstitutionality of certain provisions of the law on guarantees of the activity of the Kyrgyz president and the status of the former president. The application was filed by Nurbek Kasymbekov, a lawyer of Atambayev's Social Democratic Party, and signed by Social Democratic deputies Asel Koduranov, Irina Karamushkina, Muradyl Mamedinov, Anvar Artykov, and Karamat Orozova.

The application concerned Paragraph b Part 8 Article 1 and Article 2 of the law, which said that former president must not hold any political or special positions in the authorities, and must not be a political party leader or participate in the party's activity in any other way. If the former president disobeys the restrictions, all of his guarantees, as well as financial and other support from the republican budget must cease at the initiative of the prosecutor general.

On April 4, the Kyrgyz parliament passed amendments to the law on guarantees of the activity of the Kyrgyz president and the status of the former president in the third and last reading to envisage the former president's deprivation of his status in case of political activity.

Kyrgyz President Sooronbai Jeenbekov signed the amendments into law on May 16.

On June 27, the Kyrgyz parliament ruled by a majority of votes to deprive former President Atambayev of immunity for his actions in the presidential capacity in which the Prosecutor General's Office found corruptive practices. The decision allows for his criminal prosecution.

The Prosecutor General's Office is investigating the possibility of Atambayev's involvement in the following misdeeds: profiteering, illegal acquisition of a plot of land, involvement in the illegal release of crime lord Aziz Batukayev from custody, and corruption in the project of modernization of the Bishkek power-and-heating plant by means of a Chinese loan.

The former president dismissed those allegations as "absurd" and refused to participate in the inquiry and to be questioned.

Special forces of Kyrgyzstan's State Committee for National Security attempted to detain Atambayev in the village of Koi-Tash 20 kilometers from the country's capital of Bishkek on August 7, leading to clashes with the ex-president's supporters. One special forces officer died of a gunshot wound. Six special forces officers were taken hostage and released the next day.

The clashes continued on August 8 when the special forces undertook another attempt to detain the former president. Atambayev was arrested.

Atambayev's arrest was extended until October 26 on August 20. The court froze assets of the former president and his family.

Atambayev was serving as the Kyrgyz president between 2011 and 2017. The Social Democratic Party he founded is one of the oldest parties in the republic. The party shifted to opposition in the beginning of 2019. After the parliament amended in April the guarantee law, which deprived former presidents of his status in case of continuing political activity, Atambayev resigned from the position of the Social Democratic Party chairman.