21 Nov 2017 20:08

Kyrgyz Supreme Court upholds opposition activist Tekebayev's 8-year corruption sentence - lawyer

BISHKEK. Nov 21 (Interfax) - The Kyrgyz Supreme Court has upheld the sentence handed down by a first-instance court to the leader of the opposition political party Ata-Meken (Homeland), Omurbek Tekebayev, who was sentenced to eight years for corruption involving the cellular provider MegaCom.

"During today's hearing at the Supreme Court, a judgment was rendered according to which the first-instance court's sentence was upheld," the politician's lawyer Kanat Khasanov told Interfax on Tuesday.

The defense is intending to resort to international courts and the United Nations Human Rights Committee, he said. "We will seek new opportunities to prove Tekebayev's innocence," he said.

"Today's Supreme Court decision proves that the case is a frame-up. The court failed to give an objective evaluation. It proved that it is controlled from the White House [the presidential office building in Bishkek]," Khasanov said.

The Kyrgyz State National Security Committee detained Tekebayev and former Kyrgyz Emergency Situations Minister Duyshonkul Chotonov in late February. The security service accused them of corruption and fraud in connection with MegaCom (ZAO Alfa Telecom).

According to the testimony of the main witness, Russian businessman Leonid Mayevsky, in 2010, Tekebayev and Chotonov received $1 million from him to create preferences in the management of the government-owned company.

In August, Bishkek's Pervomaisky District Court sentenced Tekebayev to eight years of imprisonment and confiscation of property, as well as a ban on holding public office for three years. In light of the applied amnesty, he should serve four years and six months in jail. The politician has denied all accusations and said he believes the case is politically motivated.

Tekebayev, who previously served as the speaker of the parliament and the deputy head of the Kyrgyz provisional government, actively participated alongside President Almazbek Atambayev in the events of April 2010, which resulted in a regime change in Kyrgyzstan and the flight of then-President Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

Tekebayev had planned to participate in the Kyrgyz presidential election on October 15, but the Kyrgyz Central Electoral Commission did not register him as a presidential candidate after finding that signatures supporting him were fake.