Former Kyrgyz leader's daughter questioned as witness in criminal probes

Investigators on Monday detained for several hours the daughter of ousted Kyrgyz leader Askar Akayev for questioning as a witness in criminal probes against her husband and brother, the Prosecutor General's Office said.

Bermet Akayeva, the only family member to have returned to Kyrgyzstan after the March 2005 popular uprising that ousted her father, was detained as she crossed the border from Kazakhstan, the prosecutor general's office said in a statement.

Taken to the Kyrgyz National Security Service headquarters in the capital, Bishkek, she was released after more than three hours of questioning.

Akayeva told reporters after leaving the intelligence agency's headquarters that prosecutors had asked her about the business activities of her husband and brother but she had refused to answer their questions. She said the prosecutors also asked her about a charity foundation that her mother had run until last year.

Akayeva said she was denied access to her lawyer during the interrogation.

In Moscow, her father denounced security officials hauling his daughter in for questioning as "a premeditated political act" directed against him and his family, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Akayeva lost her parliamentary seat last year for buying votes, depriving her of parliamentary immunity.

The former president and his family, who were forced into exile in Russia, were accused of amassing extensive business holdings through corruption and the opposition leaders now in power have vowed to investigate alleged graft under the previous regime.

The National Security Service has launched a probe into the business activities of Akayeva's husband. Adil Toyganbayev is a Kazakh citizen who had a contract to sell fuel to a U.S air base based just outside the Kyrgyz capital.

Akayeva's younger brother Aidar, who was also elected to parliament last year, is facing two criminal investigations accusing him of extortion and money-laundering. He has not returned to Kyrgyzstan and might be forced to give up his seat for systematic absence, reports AP.


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