22 june 2018

Central Asia news

Azimbek Beknazarov: Blood of the Aksy victims toppled Akayev's regime, and that's what awaits the powers-that-be nowadays

12.03.2008 11:10 msk

Sultan Kanazarov (Bishkek)

Politics Kyrgyzstan

On March 17, Kyrgyzstan will commemorate participants of the rally in support of ex-deputy Azimbek Beknazarov in Bospiyek (Aksy district, Jalalabad region) in 2002. Law enforcement agencies opened up on the demonstrators then, killing six.

The pain lingers even now. Families of the victims and the wounded remain thoroughly upset by the investigation and lack of adequate prosecution of the guilty. Nobody has been sentenced to imprisonment for six deaths.

Frustrated with the authorities' unwillingness to organize a fair trial, families of the victims and the wounded initiated the so called People's Court and scheduled it for the next anniversary of the tragedy.

Suspects' list (42 people in all) includes ex-president Askar Akayev, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, and various officials who occupied positions of power in 2002. Not one of them has confirmed his participation so far.

The People's Court is essentially an act of despair. Practically all politicians are stone-cold confident that the tragedy in Aksy will never be investigated in the proper manner and that it will never culminate in a fair trial.

Elders commemorate Aksy tragedy victims. Photo by Feghana.Ru
Elders commemorate Aksy tragedy victims. Photo by Feghana.Ru

Excerpts from an interview with Azimbek Beknazarov (Reporter, Bishkek)

Question: Alternative power structures from the parliament to courts are being established throughout the country. Will there be an alternative president as well? Is there one already?

Azimbek Beknazarov: I do not rule out the possibility that the kurultai will vote for it on March 29. The kurultai wields these powers, you know. I cannot say exactly what decision it will make. Let the delegates decide.

Question: The situation bears a strong resemblance to what was happening in Jalalabad in late 2004 and early 2005 when official power structures were challenged...

Azimbek Beknazarov: We were noticeably less radical then. Even our own comrades criticized us when we overrun the Jalalabad regional administration on March 4, 2005. No more discord. All structures of the opposition are unanimous and monolithic, these days.

Question: The events in Aksy consolidated the opposition once and Akayev's regime was toppled. Do you think this People's Court scheduled to take place soon will unify the opposition now?

Azimbek Beknazarov: The events in Aksy elevated Bakiyev. After the revolution, I accompanied Bakiyev on a trip to Aksy where he gave the people a solemn promise to investigate everything. Aksy cost Akayev presidency after 3 years. Well, another 3 year period passed now. On March 17, the people's trial will plainly demonstrate the lack of trust in the authorities and in the state where all structures are run by a single family. It is common knowledge after all that all security structures are in the hands of the president's brother Zhanysh. If the state is like an auto, then installing a new driver is all we have accomplished so far. Not even the Akayevs were so obvious and shameless. Maxim Bakiyev was installed in Aidar Akayev's office. One son of the president replaced with the son of another. On the other hand, state officials did not hurry to Aidar with regular reports then the way they do nowadays and report to Maxim. It pains me to call us revolutionaries. The revolution took place on March 24, but three days later it was over. It stopped being a revolution.


The opposition once laid its hands on the tape of the massacre made by secret services. Its publication fomented a political explosion in Kyrgyzstan, exposing numerous lies told by Akayev's regime.

It is known for example that secret services handled bodies of the executed demonstrators and did their best to make gunshot wounds look like they had been made by protesters themselves in a fit of violence (the hypothesis suggested then was that these people had murdered one another with metal rods).

District hospital staff, however, wouldn't participate in this infamy. Doctors refused to authenticate the cause of death secret services had been insisting on and informed families of the victims. Officers barely escaped being lynched then.

Local law enforcement agencies in the meantime were arresting survivors and threatening them into signing written confessions that the bruises and wounds had been result of a fall from apple trees.

It never even occurred to the police that hundreds of people would never climb apple trees in Aksy on March 17, well before their bloom (much less fruit-bearing season).

This frantically absurd actions on the part of the authorities and the manner in which the tragedy was handled by the parliament convinced the Kyrgyz that a regime like that had no right to be in charge, much less to talk morals.

No progress

Made the prosecutor general, Elmurza Satabaldiyev pronounced completion of the Aksy investigation a priority and had it put into motion again. Unfortunately, no progress at all has been made so far. Satabaldiyev seems unable to finish the matter that already defied the efforts of his two predecessors including Beknazarov himself.

Meanwhile, it was in support of Beknazarov that residents of Aksy staged that fatal rally in 2002, protesting against the criminal charges pressed against Beknazarov by Akayev's regime.

Beknazarov, one of the staunch opponents of the regime nowadays, told Bishkek-Reporter that the blood shed in Aksy toppled Akayev's regime within three years and predicted that the same lot awaited Bakiyev now.