Ex-president of Kyrgyzstan sentenced to life

BISHKEK: The exiled former president of Kyrgyzstan, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, has been given a life sentence in absentia for his role in trying to violently suppress an opposition rally. The trial lasted nearly four years.

The Kyrgyz Supreme Court on Friday convicted former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev of supervising a violent crackdown on protests in April 2010 in which some 80 people died, and sentenced him in absentia to life imprisonment.

The sentence also provided for his assets to be confiscated.

The court in the capital, Bishkek, also gave a life sentence to Bakiyev’s younger brother, Zhanybek, who was a former security chief at the time of the protests. Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s son, Maxim, was given a 10-year jail sentence for money laundering and abandoning his post.

They were also both absent for the verdicts against them.

Two other top officials alleged to have followed Zhanybek’s orders were sentenced to 25 years each.

Bakiyev and his family fled the country in 2010 amid a mass uprising of people protesting against corruption and a stagnant economy, and have been living in Belarus, another ex-Soviet republic.

They deny all charges, which they say are politically motivated.