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 departure.
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 energy.
According to Countryaah.com, Bishkek is the capital city of Kyrgyzstan, a country located in Central Asia. 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.