Kyrgyzstan. The year was marked by a political power
struggle where several of President Almazbek Atambayev's
opponents and critics were arrested and imprisoned.
Countryaah.com, an appeals court ruled in January a life imprisonment
case against human rights fighter and journalist Azimjon
Askarov, ethnic Uzbek. He was made responsible for protests
that led to ethnic violence and hundreds of dead in 2010.
According to the defense, the verdict was politically
motivated. Four opposition politicians were charged with
conspiring to overthrow the government. Three of them were
sentenced to between 12 and 20 years in prison. According to
the defense, the court used manipulated sound recording as
A Turkish cargo plane crashed at the beginning of the
year in a village outside Bishkek's airport with the crew
and 34 villagers as death victims. The accident was followed
by political strife, in which the opposition claimed that
the plane was carrying goods intended for President
The country's party leader Omurbek Tekebajev initiated a
parliamentary commission to investigate the issue, but in
February Tekebajev was arrested on charges of corruption.
Supporters demonstrated in Bishkek demanding his release,
and protests grew around the country. According to the
opposition, Tekebaev had been arrested so that he would not
be able to publish evidence of the shipment of the crashed
plane. The homeland appointed Tekebajev as its candidate for
the fall presidential election, and another opposition
politician, Sadyr Japarov, also planned to run for election.
But both were hindered.
Japarov was arrested when he returned from three years in
exile. His supporters protested, the police fired grenades
and many protesters were arrested. In August, Japarov was
sentenced to eleven and a half years in prison on charges of
hooliganism, death threats and for taking hostages during
protests at a gold mine. According to Japarov, the
prosecution was politically motivated.
Tekebaev was sentenced to eight years in prison on
charges of corruption. According to the prosecution, he had
taken bribes when he sat in the government in 2010. A
co-accused was given the same penalty. Their assets were
confiscated and they were banned from holding public office
for three years. Both denied all charges.
Another opposition politician, Kanatbek Isayev, was
arrested shortly before the presidential election accused of
planning a coup to take power unless opposition candidate
Omurbek Babanov won the election. Almambet Sjykmamatov from
the Fatherland was indicted for corruption, and several of
the party's leading politicians were threatened by similar
charges before the presidential election.
President Atambayev could not stand for re-election as
only one term of office is allowed. The ruling Social
Democrats therefore appointed Prime Minister Sooronbay
Jeenbekov as their presidential candidate. He resigned to
campaign, and to his successor was appointed Sapar Isakov,
the president's chief of staff.
Jeenbekov's main challenger in the October elections was
the opposition candidate and oil magnate Omurbek Babanov,
who was accused by the regime of supporting Kazakhstan.
According to the official result, Jeenbekov won with 54.7%
of the vote against Babanov's 33.5%. Babanov claimed
electoral fraud, but despite the purchase of votes, OSCE
observers accepted the election.
After the election, the government decided to say no to
aid equivalent to about $ 100 million from Kazakhstan, which
was accused of trying to influence the electoral movement in
support of the opposition.
The private television station September was accused of
broadcasting extremist material and was closed following
court decisions. The channel had interviewed a former police
chief who said that government politicians had used state
funds to inflame the ethnic violence in Osh 2010.
Journalist Zulpukar Sapanov was sentenced to four years
in prison accused of reducing the role of Islam in a book
and contributing to creating a negative attitude towards
Muslims. Sapanov declared himself innocent.
According to the United Nations Population Fund, about
one in five Kyrgyz girls and young women are kidnapped to be
forced into marriage. Many of the victims are raped for
their shameful return to their family. Since 2013, groom is
illegal and even child marriage is prohibited. Despite this,
nearly 12,000 girls and young women are estimated to be
stripped of marriage every year.
During the year, Kyrgyzstan was visited by Uzbekistan's
new president, the first visit by a Uzbek head of state
since 2000. There were signs of thawing weather in the
chilly relations of both neighboring countries. Several
border stations were opened after being closed since the
bloody ethnic riots in 2010. Hundreds of thousands of ethnic
uz cups live in Kyrgyzstan.