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BISHKEK: A court in Kyrgyzstan has sentenced fugitive former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to 24 years in prison for abuse of office, and handed a life term to his brother for murder and other crimes.
The verdicts announced yesterday give the authorities legal grounds to resume demanding the ex-president’s extradition from Belarus.
Bakiyev was granted political asylum by Minsk after crowds seized his government headquarters in an April 2010 revolt in which about 90 people were killed when security forces opened fire on opposition protesters.
Belarus has repeatedly rejected Kyrgyzstan’s demands to extradite the former president.
The garrison military court of the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, which tried Bakiyev in absentia, said in a statement that he had been found guilty of abuse of office and inflicting grave damage to the state as a member of a criminal group.
Bakiyev’s brother Zhanysh, who headed his security service and has also been reported to be hiding in Belarus, was sentenced by the same court in absentia to life imprisonment for kidnapping, premeditated murder and other grave crimes.
Prosecutors had accused Zhanysh Bakiyev of ordering the killing of Medet Sadyrkulov, a former head of presidential staff who resigned after falling out with Bakiyev and later announced plans to join the opposition. The burnt bodies of Sadyrkulov and two other people were found in a car in March 2009.