Belarus rejects second Bakiyev extradition request

The FINANCIAL -- BISHKEK. Belarus has refused for the second time a request to extradite the ousted Kyrgyz president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, the Kyrgyz prosecutor general said on August 27, according to Ria Novosti.

Bakiyev fled the country in April amid large-scale opposition protests that brought to power opposition forces led by Roza Otunbayeva. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said he took Bakiyev under his "personal" protection.

In May, the Kyrgyz interim government first requested the former president's extradition, accusing him of ordering the shooting of civilians during the conflict, as well as abuse of power and corruption during his leadership. Bakiyev has denied the claims.

Belarus rejected the extradition request, saying the interim Kyrgyz government was not legitimate.

In late June, a referendum on a new constitution was held in the republic as part of the interim authorities' efforts to return the country to democratic rule. Otunbayeva was approved in the referendum as the country's president for a provisional period until 2012.

Following the vote, the Kyrgyz authorities sent another extradition request to Belarus.

"We received the same answer," Baitemir Ibrayev told Otunbayeva on Friday.

The Kyrgyz Prosecutor General's Office will ask Belarus to extradite Bakiyev again, he said, adding that "other ways" to bring the former president to justice are also being considered.

Bakiyev and his relatives have also been accused of instigating the recent clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and minority Uzbeks in the south of Kyrgyzstan, Bakiyev's former stronghold. The riots claimed the lives of some 300 people, according to official figures. Kyrgyz officials say the real death toll may exceed 2,000.


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