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Wednesday 10 June 2020

Kyrgyz Ex-PM Sentenced to 18 Years in Prison


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BISHKEK (RFE/RL) — A court in Bishkek has found former Prime Minister Sapar Isakov guilty of misusing state funds allocated for the renovation of Bishkek’s National History Museum and a hippodrome in the northern town of Cholpon-Ata while in office and sentenced him to serve 18 years in prison.

The Birinchi Mai District Court on June 9 sentenced Isakov, who is already serving a 15-year prison term for corruption, for mishandling each of the two cases. The terms will run concurrently with his sentences for the previous convictions.

“The court ruled to sentence Sapar Isakov to 12 years in prison and recover 247 mln som [ $3.3 mln] in fines from him”, Judge Marat Sydykov said in handing down the judgment. “In aggregate, taking into account his earlier conviction and prison sentence of 15 years, Isakov shall be sentenced to 18 years in a high security penitentiary”, Sydykov added.

Isakov was not present in the courtroom. His lawyers said he officially refused to take part in the final stage of the high-profile trial.

In December, 2019, a court in Bishkek sentenced Isakov and another former prime minister, Jantoro Satybaldiev, to 15 and seven years in prison, respectively, on corruption charges stemming from their involvement in a 2013 project to modernize the Bishkek Thermal Power Station. The high-profile corruption trials have implicated several former top Kyrgyz officials who allegedly are close associates of former President Almazbek Atambaev.

The probes were launched amid tensions between Atambaev and current incumbent Sooronbai Jeenbekov, a former prime minister who was tapped by Atambaev as his favoured successor in Kyrgyzstan’s October 2017 presidential election.

Atambaev is currently on trial as well. He was arrested in August last year after he surrendered to police following two days of violent resistance following his refusal to show up in police headquarters for questioning in an unrelated case.

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