9 Aug 2019 10:05

Kyrgyz opposition party leader coming home

BISHKEK. Aug 9 (Interfax) - Kyrgyz opposition politician, Respublika party leader Omurbek Babanov is returning to Bishkek, the Kyrgyz news agency 24.kg said on Friday.

"Babanov will arrive in the Bishkek Manas Airport at 2:40 p.m. local time. He has passed passport control in the Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport and prepares to board his plane," the report said.

Meanwhile, the Kyrgyz National Security Committee told Interfax in a statement that Babanov would be charged with appeals for overthrowing the regime in case of his return to Kyrgyzstan.

"Appeals for overthrowing the constitutional system are being investigated. Babanov will be held liable consistent with the law in case of his return," the statement said.

Babanov declared his intention to return to Kyrgyzstan in April but called off the departure from Moscow for fear of provocations.

Babanov was quite popular in Kyrgyzstan. He gained over 600,000 votes in the presidential election in October 2017 and ranked second after incumbent President Sooronbai Jeenbekov.

He was elected to parliament in October 2015 on the Respublika-Ata Zhurt ticket and headed the same-name faction until the end of 2017.

On November 4, 2017, the Kyrgyz Prosecutor General's Office indicted Babanov on counts of public appeals for overthrowing the constitutional system and inciting ethnic, racial, or religious enmity during the presidential campaign. The politician left Kyrgyzstan before the criminal proceeding was initiated, and resigned as the parliament faction leader in a later period.

According to the Kyrgyz media, Babanov is one of the richest people in Kyrgyzstan.