Kyrgyzstan requested Russia extradite former President Askar Akayev's son Aidar

Kyrgyzstan has requested that Russia extradite former President Askar Akayev's son Aidar, who is accused of extortion and money laundering, the chief prosecutor said Tuesday. Aidar Akayev, an elected member of parliament, fled Kyrgyzstan along with his parents during the March uprising that ousted his father. He has retained his seat in parliament but was stripped of parliamentary immunity from prosecution.

The younger Akayev has said that the criminal investigation against him is politically driven. "Aidar Akayev must be arrested. He is in Russia," Chief Prosecutor Kambaraly Kongantiyev told reporters. "We have requested (Russian authorities) to provide assistance in detaining (him)."

Kongantiyev could not say whether Akayev had been arrested in Russia. Defense Minister Esen Topoyev, believed to be working at a Russian military unit, is also wanted in Kyrgyzstan for alleged corruption, Kongantiyev said.

The prosecutor also defended his decision last week to hand over a Kazakh opposition youth activist to authorities there, saying there was no official information to indicate he is being persecuted for political reasons.

Makhambet Abzhan had moved to the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, in September, fearing persecution for his political activity in the run-up to this month's Kazakh presidential election. He faces embezzlement charges at home that his supporters claim are politically motivated. He was extradited on Friday.

Kongantiyev also said that the extradition of five Uzbek refugees being held in Kyrgyz police custody and wanted for alleged crimes at home would be decided by the courts.

The five Uzbeks, who crossed into Kyrgyzstan after a bloody government crackdown in May, were arrested in the southern city of Osh at Uzbek authorities' request. The United Nations has recognized four of them as refugees and said their extradition would violate international law.

Kyrgyzstan's Migration Committee, however has denied asylum to four of them. They are appealing the decision. "According to documents provided by Uzbek authorities, they have committed crimes," Kongantiyev told reporters. "If the court upholds the Migration Committee's decision to deny them refugee status, the Uzbek citizens will be handed over."

Khurnisa Makhaddinova, senior attorney of the Adilet legal firm that deals with human rights cases, said the application of the fifth Uzbek for asylum has not yet been considered, reports the AP. I.L.

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