Kyrgyzstan ex-Prez held after clashes

Moscow, August 8 

The police in Kyrgyzstan detained the Central Asian nation’s ex-President on Thursday following violent clashes with his supporters, a day after a previous attempt to arrest him left one policeman dead and nearly 80 persons injured.

The violence has raised the threat of a new round of turmoil in the ex-Soviet nation, which borders China and hosts a Russian military air base. Kyrgyzstan’s first two presidents after independence were both driven from office by riots.

Almazbek Atambayev, who was in office from 2011 to 2017, accused his successor and one-time protege Sooronbai Jeenbekov of fabricating false criminal charges against him to stifle criticism. He urged his supporters to rally Thursday in the capital, Bishkek, to demand Jeenbekov’s resignation. The first attempt by police to arrest Atambayev at his residence outside the capital failed late Wednesday after his supporters rushed to his defence and clashed with police. 

Former President Atambayev dismissed a slew of charges, including corruption and the expropriation of property, as “absurd.”  — AFP