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Kyrgyz Government Steps Up Attacks Against Opponents
Opposition activists claim beatings and threats from government authorities
Ryskeldi Satkeev (ryskeldi64)     Print Article 
Published 2009-07-17 15:29 (KST)   
On July 16, members of the United Opposition Movement (UOM) of Kyrgyzstan, Emilbek Kaptagaev and Ismail Isakov (former head of the Kyrgyz defense ministry) announced at a press-conference, describing the Kyrgyz government's widespread actions against leaders, members and activists of the UOM. Similar scenarios have been played against the main UOM candidate Almazbek Atambaev campaign activists as well. Due to the current political situation in Kyrgyzstan, leader of the opposition "Uluu Birimdik" party, Emilbek Kaptagaev made a statement regarding President Bakiev's intimidation policies.

Emilbek Kaptagaev stated that the upcoming presidential elections brought unprecedented level of intimidation, harassment, threats and physical attacks against opponents of the President Bakiev. According to his statement, Kaptagaev has been kidnapped on June 20, by unknown individuals. One of them was wearing a Kyrgyz police uniform. Kidnappers transported the victim outside the Bishkek city where he was brutally beaten. On July 13, Kaptagaev received a telephone call from an unknown person warning him of further complications if he continues to promote opposition candidate Atambaev.

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Emilbek Kaptagaev made a further statement: "After July 13 phone call, I understood who is behind these actions and I could only name a current Bakiev regime. Government is interested in shutting me down. Only Kyrgyz authorities can sanction kidnappings, beatings and assassinations of the UOM leaders and members. I openly state that I'll fight the current regime to the end. I'm not afraid of death. God's will. I also want to clarify that if something happens to me or to my closest ones, the blame will be on President Bakiev and his associates. The regime uses total terror as a political tool in the upcoming presidential elections with bets on physical liquidation and mob connections. Today, every single political UOM figure is in danger. If Bakiev won't be able to put opponents in prison then we can expect more political assassinations."

Ismail Isakov, one of the prominent members of UOM and former head of the defense ministry said: "Government has a role in witch hunting against us. Our contacts within government agencies alerted us on existing plan for physical measures up to assassinations of Omurbek Tekebaev (leader of the opposition party Ata Meken), Bakyt Beshimov (leader of the Social Democratic Party), Azimbek Beknazarov (outspoken opponent of the Bakiev presidency) including myself as well by poisoning, and planting automobile and airplane accidents. There are many facts we collected during our presidential campaign. Recently, we have met voters near Bishkek city where we have been warned about possible attacks by unknown group armed with knives. We can't simply look away from all this which is happening in Kyrgyz society. ,They are using kidnapping, killings, beatings, harassment and intimidation so widely that no one is safe right now. What's then? We must stand up and say no more to these practices" said Ismail Isakov.

Kyrgyzstan is close to next week's highly controversial presidential elections. Experts predict that current president will stay in power after July 23. NGOs and human rights watchdog organizations have shown concern over the practices of the current Kyrgyz Government on freedom of speech and safety of the freelance journalists. There has been a number of independent newspaper joints closures initiated by the government. Political factions opposed to the President of Kyrgyzstan have repeatedly criticized the questionable tactics of the Bakiev election campaign which heavily relied on administrative resources against the opponents.
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©2009 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Ryskeldi Satkeev

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