Author`s name AP ©

Kyrgyzstan: alleged criminal boss killed

A suspected criminal gang boss was killed in a shootout in the capital of Kyrgyzstan, police said.

The shooting occurred in front of the Supreme Court building in Bishkek where the victim, Mirlan Kanoyev, had arrived to testify as a suspect in the murder of a police officer in 2004, said Deputy Interior Minister Temirkan Subanov.

Corruption is widespread in Kyrgyzstan's judicial system and prosecutors often allow suspects to remain free during trials.

Kanoyev died in hospital from bullet wounds in the head and chest, hospital officials said.

Subanov said police arrested the attacker, who said he was taking revenge for the murder of his brother last year by Kanoyev's gang.

Kanoyev was a nephew of notorious criminal gang leader Ryspek Akmatbayev, who was gunned down in Bishkek last year after winning a seat in Parliament.

Akmatbayev's election victory underlined concerns about the growing influence of organized crime in the former Soviet Central Asian nation, which has been unstable since an uprising two years ago ousted the long-ruling president, Askar Akayev.