There is little chance that any of the culprits, found guilty last week of the massacres committed in April 2010 in a vain attempt to save the regime of Kurmanbek Bakiyev, will ever get behind bars. Kyrgyzstan finds itself in a position of almost total isolation where it comes to get any of those responsible extradited. In the wake of the latest verdict, no sign from the government has reached the public domain regarding next steps that could be taken, e.g. seizing international courts of law concerning the affair.

 

photograph: Central Asia Online

photograph: Central Asia Online

“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 during the 2010 coup,” the Russian judicial news agency RAPSI wrote in a report [http://rapsinews.com/judicial_news/20140725/271800409.html] dated July 25. “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, have fled the country.”

 

The list of convicted persons is long, and most of them are on the run. The good thing about the rulings is that people at the top have been targeted while the foot soldiers who carried out their orders have been spared. “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,” the report continues. They have been sentenced to life in prison and the confiscation of their property. Ex-Prime Minister Daniyar Usenov received a life sentence. Murat Sutalinov, former head of Kyrgyzstan’s National Security Service, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to murder 77 people and for the attempted murder of 306 protesters. Kurmanbek Bakiyev and his younger brother Janysh fled to Belarus after the April 2010 uprising. The two brothers were later granted political asylum by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. In February 2013, a military court in Kyrgyzstan sentenced the former president in absentia to 24 years in a high-security prison for abuse of office.  His brother Janysh was sentenced in November 2013 to life imprisonment for masterminding the theft of 22 million som (over $500,000) from the Djalal-Abad branch of the Kyrgyz National Bank during the overthrow of President Askar Akayev on March 24, 2005.

 

The verdict might well prompt the Kyrgyz government to seek extradition of the culprits from their respective hideouts – especially Maxim Bakiyev who is living well-off sitting on most of the stolen funds in London. In December 2012, he was arrested there pending an extradition case in… the United States. In May last year, the US dropped a money laundering and insider dealing case against him and therewith the extradition request – all without any explanation to speak of. Ever since, the case was considered lost and buried.