Agence France Presse
Published — Tuesday 12 February 2013
Last update 12 February 2013 6:24 pm
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan: 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 a murder of a powerful top official in 2009.
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 under Bakiyev, 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 the former head of the presidential administration Medet Sadyrkulov, a powerful political player known as the “grey cardinal.”
Sadyrkulov was killed in March 2009 in what the pro-Bakiyev authorities blamed on a car accident but which the opposition immediately suspected was 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 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 Kazakh city of Almaty.
A Kyrgyz man named Omurbek Usmonov had been found guilty of causing the car accident but in April 2010 he was found dead on the outskirts of Bishkek.
Sadyrkulov was believed to be returning from Kazakhstan where he had been collecting millions of dollars to fund an uprising against Bakiyev. The cash has never been found.
After Bakiyev was overthrown in April 2010, the case was reopened and several security officers were jailed in 2012 over their roles in the murder.
The former president has also been charged with mass murder over the fatal shooting by police of dozens of people in the 2010 uprising.