Belarus rejects extradition of Bakiyev

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko says he will not extradite deposed Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to his native Central Asian country to stand trial.

"Nobody has appealed to me officially (with an extradition request)," Lukashenko told Reuters on Tuesday. "But I want to immediately declare officially: These requests will be hopeless and humiliating for the interim government."

He added, "The president of Kyrgyzstan is under the protection of the Belarusian state and its president."

Lukashenko also held Bakiyev's opponents accountable for the violence in which security forces fired on protesters, some of whom were armed. He in addition censured the Kremlin over steadily ratcheting up the pressure on Bakiyev's government while reaching out to the opposition and supporting the violent protesters that toppled the government of Kyrgyzstan in early April.

Kyrgyzstan's interim government has ordered prosecutors to seek Bakiyev's extradition. A spokesman for the interim government, Farid Niyazov, said that the measure was signed by the head of the government, Roza Otunbaeva, and adopted unanimously.

"With this decree, the provisional government reaffirms that the people of Kyrgyzstan have removed Kurmanbek Bakiev from the post of president," Niyazov said.

On April 13, the interim government decided to strip deposed President Kurmanbek Bakiyev of political immunity.

Bakiyev was removed from office after the uprising that began on April 7 and claimed the lives of at least 83 people. Protesters stormed government buildings and opposition leaders declared themselves in control.

Bakiyev fled Kyrgyzstan following the bloody clashes, first to Kazakhstan and then to Belarus.


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