Opposition Front leader in Kyrgyzstan faces criminal charges

Kyrgyzstan Materials 1 August 2007 16:38 (UTC +04:00)

( Itar-Tass ) - The leader of Kyrgyzstan's oppositional front For Kyrgyzstan's Decent Future, former Prime Minister Felix Kulov, has been formally charged with organizing massive unrest on April 19, 2007.

The press-service of the State Security Committee has said Kulov was summoned for questioning earlier on Wednesday to have been accused under article 233 of the Criminal Code of organizing massive unrest.

The 24.kg news agency says similar charges under the same article of the Criminal Code were earlier brought against Kulov's associates in the United Front - chief of staff Omurbek Suvanaliyev, businessman Omurbek Abdrakhmanov and youth politician Adilet Aitikeyev. All three were initially remanded in custody and kept for a while the State Security Committee's detention center. At the request of parliament members and human rights activists they were later released on a written promise not to leave the place of permanent residence.

Kyrgyzstan's authorities on April 19 used force to terminate a nine-day-long round-the-clock-rally in Bishkek by some 2,000 protesters, who were pressing for the resignation of the president and constitutional reforms.

Two police and a dozen demonstrators were injured. Four protesters suffered brain concussion and had to be taken to hospital.

Prime Minister Almazbek Atambayev placed the responsibility for the unrest on the Opposition leaders.

For his part, Kulov argued that "representatives of the authorities" were entirely responsible for dispersing the rally.