April 18-22: crime, human rights and nat’l security
Kyrgyz Premier Almazbek Atambayev chaired the first session of the Council for Security and Rule of Law, established only a couple of weeks ago, on Monday, 18 April, which discussed such important issues as penalty enforcement agency reforming, border delimitation and organized crime. The Council relies on local regional and district heads and Premier Atambayev warned the former lax approach to duties might result in “criminal investigations” into their negligence. Although the warning bears sense, one wonders about its feasibility given Osh Mayor Myrzakmatov’s hold on the city-hall, despite the fact Atambayev and other current politicians have emerged to reportedly cleanse the state system of Bakiyev and his supporters, which would include Myrzakmatov. While the Council is a duplication of similar security councils many other countries have, it has only been established in Kyrgyzstan earlier this month and is obviously of necessity for a country with weak economy and porous borders
Kyrgyzstan is trying to fight “religious extremism” and “terrorism,” emanating from the former, like any other country in the region. And just like any other country nearby, its human rights abuse records are high and presumption of innocence is something alien. But, again, just like any other “peer” regional country, Kyrgyzstan also continues building mosques and other spiritual establishments to teach “the correct Islam.” Kyrgyz Mufti Chubak Jalilov announced on Tuesday, 19 April, that Turkey and Kuwait are ready to provide six million and two million dollars, respectively, to finance the construction of a central mosque in Bishkek. This mosque was planned to be built at least two or three years ago, but apparently the right time has only now come.
It is no wonder and surprise that the Osh events of June 2010 will haunt the Kyrgyz officials and population for several years to come. Some say it was “a breakaway attempt” whereas others say “no such a thing took place.” A group of those having the latter opinion, apparently, have published a book entitled “The Hour of the Jackal,” which has an open pro-Uzbek bias. It depicts horrific scenes of murders, mutilated bodies, burning houses and crying women and children telling terrifying stories of assaults. The Kyrgyz Prosecutor General’s office announced on Wednesday, April 20, that this book and the attached video discs were outlawed “for separatist contents and stirring interethnic animosity.” To make matters worse, a former (although they never “retire” from job) KGB officer told the same day that he published a book on similar events that have taken exactly 20 years ago and alleged “certain individuals raised the idea of Uzbek autonomy” within Kyrgyzstan back then.
The new wave – revolution, parliamentary form of governance, new government – is bringing in novelties to the state structure as well. Virtually every single official of various calibers has been replaced following the events in April 2010 (obviously excluding Osh Mayor Myrzakmatov as mentioned above). Apparently it is now the Ombudsman’s turn to leave post for “unsatisfactory” performance, as MPs put it. On Thursday, April 21, the parliament has not approved of the Ombudsman Tursunbek Akun’s report on the job his office carried out last year. In his turn, Akun said the parliament is not mandated to evaluate his office’s performance. Well, the parliament is now the supreme legislative and controlling body in the country that Akun should have been informed about by now. Personal grudge between the former Ombudsman (and a current MP) Tursunbek Bakir uulu and the current namesake Ombudsman, of course, “has nothing to do with the parliament’s decision,” the former Tursunbek has said.
Premier Atambayev “keeps saying nationalism is the worst enemy of any nation.” He is also concerned drug barons and criminal groups could attempt to stage events similar to those last year, he said on Friday, 22 April. In a recent interview with Al-Jazeera Arabic he said only the religion of Islam was able to unite various ethnic groups and nations. According to the premier, the incumbent authorities are capable of preventing such events, despite “attempts and provocations” on part of the “former authorities.”