Fugitive Kyrgyz President Given Deadline To Surrender

The provisional government that took power in Kyrgyzstan has stripped the fugitive president of his immunity and given him until Tuesday to surrender, an official said. The ousted president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, a leader once close to the United States, fled a bloody riot in the capital last week to take refuge in his ancestral homeland in the south of the country. A representative of the interim government that supplanted him said on Tuesday that his presidential immunity had been abolished and he should surrender by the end of the day. Mr. Bakiyev, who has been holed up in his family’s home in Teyit, has remained defiant, predicting bloodshed should the provisional government attempt to arrest him. On Tuesday, he led a rally of several thousand people in Jalalabad, a city close to his family’s compound.

The provisional government that took power in Kyrgyzstan has stripped the fugitive president of his immunity and given him until Tuesday to surrender, an official said.

The ousted president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, a leader once close to the United States, fled a bloody riot in the capital last week to take refuge in his ancestral homeland in the south of the country.

A representative of the interim government that supplanted him said on Tuesday that his presidential immunity had been abolished and he should surrender by the end of the day.

Mr. Bakiyev, who has been holed up in his family’s home in Teyit, has remained defiant, predicting bloodshed should the provisional government attempt to arrest him. On Tuesday, he led a rally of several thousand people in Jalalabad, a city close to his family’s compound.

In another rally on Monday near his home, Mr. Bakiyev appeared to taunt Kyrgyzstan’s new leaders to try to arrest him.

“Let them try to come and take me,” he told journalists after the Monday rally. “Let them try to destroy me. There will be blood.”

The fate of Mr. Bakiyev — openly defiant but apparently powerless — has been a source of tension around the country since he fled the capital last week after riot police officers opened fire on antigovernment demonstrators, provoking a violent backlash. In the last few days, he has been receiving journalists from his refuge at his compound in the southern mountains.

“Of course we would like him to run someplace, anyplace,” Mr. Atambayev said, but no country has offered asylum.

The new leaders had at first insisted the police would honor the president’s immunity from prosecution under the Kyrgyz Constitution, as he has not formally resigned his post. Roza Otunbayeva, the leader of the interim government, suggested Mr. Bakiyev should face an international tribunal, and she raised the prospect in a meeting Saturday with a United Nations special envoy.

On Monday, the United States Embassy in Bishkek issued a statement, saying, “The U.S. Embassy has no plans to shelter Mr. Bakiyev or help him leave Kyrgyzstan.”

The embassy also said that the United States ambassador, Tatiana C. Gfoeller, met Monday with Ms. Otunbayeva to express condolences over the deaths last week.

At the rally near his home, Mr. Bakiyev repeated that he had no intention of surrendering. Still, he said, he was open to negotiations with the interim government and renewed his call for an international commission to come to Kyrgyzstan to investigate last week’s unrest.

In a speech that evoked cheers from a crowd of mostly male supporters, Mr. Bakiyev continued to blame his opponents for the violence in Bishkek, which left more than 80 people dead and recalled the largely peaceful coup in 2005 that ushered him into power.


“That which happened in Bishkek was barbaric,” he told the crowd. “If I was guilty of this, I would have run away like the last president.”

His supporters held blue and red signs saying “Keep your hands off the legitimate president” and “Youth for the legitimate president.” They accused the opposition of illegally usurping Mr. Bakiyev’s authority and vowed to defend him should any effort be made to arrest him.

“We will never hand over the president,” said Pirimrul Sabirhanov, 40, a local businessman, calling the leaders of the interim government “usurpers” and “criminals.”

Like others, however, he said he was not prepared to turn to violence. “We won’t arm ourselves,” he said. “We won’t fight.”

Mr. Bakiyev’s options are shrinking as more and more local leaders either voice support for the interim government or resign, as have some of the top officials in his own home region.

Outside the capital, the American military resumed flying troops to and from Afghanistan through the Manas air base on Monday, after a brief halt because of the uprising, the United States Embassy said in a statement. Refueling flights had continued throughout the disturbance.

Source : nytimes