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Former Kyrgyz President Sentenced in Absentia

  • VOA News

A Kyrgyz court has sentenced former president Kurmanbek Bakiyev to 24 years in prison for abuse of power and imposed a life sentence on the former president's brother on charges that include murder.

Both men were sentenced in absentia for their roles in abuses that led to a bloody 2010 revolt that resulted in Bakiyev's ouster. The former president and his brother fled to Belarus where they were granted political asylum. Kyrgyz authorities are seeking their extradition.

Nationwide protests against corruption and poverty led to former president's departure. His overthrow sparked violence between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks that left at least 80 people dead.

The court ruled that Bakiyev's brother, who ran a bodyguard service, played a role in the death of a top government official who reportedly fell out with the brothers and later announced plans to join the opposition.

In November 2011, Almazbek Atambayev was sworn into office as president in what marked the first peaceful transition of power in Kyrgyzstan since the break-up of the Soviet Union.

He replaced Roza Otunbayeva, who served as interim leader.
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