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Banished Kyrgyz president leaves Kazakhstan for Belarus

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-04-20

Former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev landed in the Belarussian capital city of Minsk on Monday, ending days of speculation as to his whereabouts. Bakiyev first fled to Kazakhstan after being ousted by violent protests earlier this month.

AFP - Ousted Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev is in Belarus, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko said Tuesday, ending days of uncertainty over the toppled leader's whereabouts.

"Bakiyev and his family, four people in all, have been in Minsk since Monday evening, as guests," Lukashenko said during an address to the Belarussian parliament.

"Today they are here under the protection of our state, and personally of the presidant," he added.

Bakiyev left Kyrgyzstan last week after being overthrown in a popular uprising that brought a new interim government to power in the volatile Central Asian country.

He was initially in neighbouring Kazakhstan, but the Kazakh foreign ministry said Monday that he had left, without specifying his destination.

The interim government in Kyrgyzstan says it wants to put Bakiyev on trial for the shooting of demonstrators during the uprising earlier this month, in which 85 people were killed.

There had been speculation that Bakiyev would end up in Belarus ever since Lukashenko had harshly criticised the uprising in Kyrgyzstan.

Lukashenko, who was once famously dubbed "Europe's last dictator" by the United States, has ruled Belarus since 1994 and is often criticised by human rights groups for tolerating no dissent.

Speaking to the Belarussian parliament, he described conversation in which the ousted Kyrgyz president appealed to Lukashenko to help his children escape the violence in Kyrgyzstan.

"Bakiyev asked me to take him in several times. He wasn't asking for his own sake. That's what stunned me and brought me to tears. He said, 'Alexander, take my family. I fell sorry for my children, they're not guilty of anything'."

Lukashenko did not make clear the identities of the family Bakiyev had brought with him. One of his sons, Maxim, is wanted by the interim government for corruption while in power.

Date created : 2010-04-20


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