23 Jul 2019 12:03

Ex-Kyrgyz President Atambayev says ready to answer Interior Ministry's questions via media

BISHKEK. July 23 (Interfax) - Former Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev stands ready to answer questions by Interior Ministry investigators concerning the illegal freeing of crime boss Aziz Batukayev via the media, a spokesperson for the Kyrgyz Social-Democratic Party founded by Atambayev, Kunduz Zholdubayeva, told Interfax on Tuesday.

"Atambayev stands ready to answer questions the investigative agencies could ask him in writing as regards Aziz Batukayev's case and present his answers publicly, via the media," Zholdubayeva said.

Atambayev's legal team has forwarded three letters to the Interior Ministry to inform it that its investigative agencies acted unlawfully while sending a summons for questioning to a person having immunity from prosecution.

"The letters say that the Kyrgyz parliament's resolution on depriving ex-President Almazbek Atambayev of his status cannot serve as grounds for depriving the ex-president of immunity," she said.

A team of investigators led by Deputy Interior Minister Mirlan Kanimetov arrived at Atambayev's home in the village of Koy Tash near Bishkek on Monday to question the ex-president. The police officials were barred from entering Atambayev's home, after which they left the village.

Deputy Interior Minister Kanimetov warned in an interview with local media that, after the former president several times failed to appear for questioning, an investigator could issue a warrant enforcing his appearance as a witness.

Atambayev received a third summons from the Kyrgyz Interior Ministry on July 18 demanding that he appear to be questioned as a witness in a case dealing with the illegal liberation of Batukayev in 2013. As he had before, Atambayev ignored the Interior Ministry's demand.

The Kyrgyz parliament passed a resolution on June 27 to deprive Atambayev of immunity from prosecution and stripped him of his status of ex-president by 103 votes. This happened after the Prosecutor General's office supported charges the parliament had brought against the ex-president.

Atambayev described all charges brought against him as "absurd" and said he was not going to take part in any investigative procedures and appear for questioning. Atambayev is currently staying at his home in Koy Tash, where he regularly meets with his supporters every evening.

Atambayev was president of Kyrgyzstan from 2011 to 2017.