BISHKEK – A Kyrgyz military court on Tuesday sentenced in absentia former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev to 24 years in prison and his brother Janysh to life over the 2009 murder of a powerful top official.
Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was toppled in a bloody 2010 uprising fueled by his family’s rampant corruption during a half decade in power, was convicted of abuse of power by the Bishkek military garrison court. His brother Janysh, the former head of the state bodyguard service, was convicted of multiple murder. Both men fled to Belarus after the 2010 revolution and Minsk has so far refused requests from Bishkek’s new rulers to extradite the pair.
The closed-door trial against them specifically related to the 2009 murder of Medet Sadyrkulov a powerful political player known as the “gray cardinal.”
Sadyrkulov was killed in March 2009 in what the pro-Bakiyev authorities called a car accident but which the opposition immediately suspected was a murder carried out by forces loyal to the president. The fact that the bodies of Sadyrkulov and his two dead companions were found in the Lexus jeep with severe burns had immediately raised suspicions about whether an accident was the true cause of death.
The investigation found that Sadyrkulov had been personally tortured by Janysh Bakiyev, which resulted in the breaking of several bones. He was then found burned to death in the jeep on the highway leading from the Kazakhstan city of Almaty.