Kyrgyzstan. Opposition politician Kanatbek Isayev was
sentenced in January to 12 years in prison charged with
corruption. According to Isayev, the prosecution was
politically motivated. He had been arrested before the 2017
presidential election accused of coup plans and was then not
allowed to run for election.
In early 2018, protests were held outside the Supreme
Court, the parliament and the presidential office in the
capital Bishkek demanding legal reform and dismissal of
judges accused of corruption.
In severe cold, Bishkek's newly renovated thermal power
plant failed. People were freezing for days, dissatisfaction
was great and demands were raised on the Prime Minister's
In April, Prime Minister Sapar Isakov was dismissed by
the president after the government lost a vote of confidence
in Parliament. A power struggle was reportedly raging
between President Sooronbay Jeenbekov and President Almazbek
Atambayev, who supported the Prime Minister. Several of
Atambayev's allies were dismissed, including the state
prosecutor and the head of the security service. Former
Chief of Staff in the President's Office, Muchammedkalyj
Abylgaziev was appointed as new Prime Minister.
The deposed head of government Isakov was charged with
corruption linked to the renovation of the accident-affected
thermal power plant. He was said to have caused great harm
to society by lobbying for a Chinese company that got the
construction project. Isakov described the prosecution as
false, but another former prime minister was arrested as
well as a former mayor of Bishkek and a former minister of
Countryaah.com, the purge of former President Atambayev's allies
continued. In July, Bishkek's mayor was indicted for
corruption, and the deputy mayor was arrested for abuse of
power. In August, the Bishkek City Council elected new mayor
during protests from protesters, which demanded more
candidates than the ruling Social Democrats.
Russian investigative journalists reported in August that
US President Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul
Manafort worked in Kyrgyzstan in 2005 to promote the Russian
Federation's geopolitical interests. Among other things, it
involved the closure of a US military installation near
Bishkek, a transport hub for NATO's forces in Afghanistan.
The Social Democratic Party, led by President Atambajek,
in August came under harsh criticism against persecution of
political opponents, questionable appointments and weak
economic policies. Despite the party sitting in the
government, they blamed it for a growing protest atmosphere
in the country.
During the year, Kyrgyzstan received harsh criticism from
the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for allowing the
old custom of bride-groom to continue with rape and forced
marriage without prosecution and punishment. In one notable
case during the year, an abducted 20-year-old woman was
killed by her kidnapper at a police station where both were
taken. Several police officers were dismissed for failing to
protect the woman.
In October, Kyrgyzstan's Foreign Minister resigned after
the Kyrgyzstan ambassador to South Korea accused his own
foreign ministry of corruption. The ambassador sought
political asylum in an unnamed country.
During the year, the country's anti-terrorist center
reported that 150 Kyrgyz citizens have been killed when
fighting for Islamist groups in the war in Syria since 2011.
About 850 Kyrgyz citizens were estimated to have
participated in the war.