10 Jan 2023 11:39

Bishkek police detain over 20 supporters of activists arrested for protesting against Kempir-Abad water reservoir's transfer to Uzbekistan

BISHKEK. Jan 10 (Interfax) - Over 20 persons have been detained in Bishkek during a demonstration of supporters of arrested activists, who protested against the transfer of the Kempir-Abad (Andizhan) water reservoir to Uzbekistan, an Interfax correspondent reported from the ground.

About 30 people gathered near the Kyrgyz Interior Ministry's headquarters on Tuesday to demand the release of activists detained earlier and an open investigation. The demonstrators headed to the Kyrgyz presidential administration, and over 20 of them were detained on the way and put on police buses.

The Kyrgyz Interior Ministry told Interfax earlier that a ban on peaceful demonstrations in the center of Bishkek was extended until March 31, 2023, by the Pervomaisky District Court in Bishkek on December 26, 2022, to prevent mass unrest.

The Kyrgyz Interior Ministry opened a criminal case at the end of October 2022 on counts of the organization and preparations for mass unrest and power grab. The searches and detentions of opposition members and activists began as they established a committee in support of the Kempir-Abad water reservoir.

The arrestees include former Kyrgyz Prosecutor General Azimbek Beknazarov, former Constitutional Court judge Klara Sooronkulova, former head of the National Security Committee Keneshbek Duishebayev, former Parliament Speaker Kanatbek Isayev, and former parliament deputies Ravshan Jeenbekov, Asiya Sasykbayeva and Kubanychbek Kadyrov.

Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov signed a bill into law on November 28 to ratify the agreement on the state border with Uzbekistan, in addition to a bill ratifying the bilateral intergovernmental agreement on joint management of water resources of the Kempir-Abad reservoir.

By law, a joint Kyrgyz-Uzbek commission will be managing the water reservoir.

A bill ratifying the Kyrgyz-Uzbek agreement on certain parts of the bilateral border, which was signed by the two foreign ministers on November 3 and applied to border sections with an overall length of 302.29 kilometers, passed three readings in the Kyrgyz parliament on November 17.

The parliament also voted for a bill on ratification of the Kyrgyz-Uzbek intergovernmental agreement on joint management of water resources of the Kempir-Abad (Andizhan) reservoir.

According to this agreement, Uzbekistan takes control of 4,485 hectares of land under the Kempir-Abad water reservoir, while Kyrgyzstan will control 19,699 hectares.

Back in 2017, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan signed an agreement on the delimitation of 85% of the 1,378-kilometer border. The remaining 15% of the borderline was disputed and sporadically became a point of conflict between residents of border territories.

Kyrgyz and Uzbek intergovernmental delegations met in Tashkent on March 25, 2021, to discuss the border delimitation and demarcation. They signed a protocol, which settled all outstanding border issues, including by land swaps.

Uzbekistan has also completed ratification of documents on the border with Kyrgyzstan.