In absentia: Former Kyrgyz President granted asylum in Belarus sentenced to life in Bishkek

A court in Kyrgyzstan on Friday handed down a guilty verdict in absentia to former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and sentenced him to life imprisonment for helping mastermind the murder of protesters in 2010, Russian Legal Information Agency reports.

The verdicts of high-ranking officials found guilty of the death of protesters in Bishkek’s central square on April 7, 2010 are being delivered at the Military Tribunal of the Bishkek Garrison. The demonstration, in which 77 people were killed and over 300 injured, led to the deposition of Bakiyev.

The trial lasted in Bishkek for over three years. But it was mostly special forces and state guard personnel who were present, because the majority of the defendants, including high-raking officials, left the country.

The presiding judge, Damir Onolbekov, said ex-President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and his brother Janysh, who headed the Kyrgyz security services, were found guilty of masterminding murder, of attempted murder and abuse of power. They have been sentenced to life in prison and the confiscation of their property.

Both men fled to Belarus after the 2010 revolution and the country has so far refused requests from Bishkek’s new rulers to extradite them. Kurmanbek Bakiyev received political asylum in Minsk, his brother was also seen there in 2012.

The issue on the Bakiyevs’ extradition is regularly raised both by Belarusian and Kyrgyz authorities. Kurmanbek Bakiyev, his life partner and two children arrived in Belarus on personal invitation of Aliaksandr Lukashenka. The former Kyrgyz President was granted Belarusian citizenship in 2010. He reportedly bought a house on the outskirts of Minsk for $2 million.

“The problem of Bakiyev is now no more a problem in our relations,” Belarus president Aliaksandr Lukashenka said at his press conference on December 11, 2012. “Why do you need Bakiyev? The man lives his life. He left. Everything can happen. He raises his children.”

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