Kyrgyz Supreme Court rules drops life imprisonment for June 2010 suspect, orders re-trial
The Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan cancelled on 27 February 2013 the ruling a second level court adopted in Makhamat Bizurukov’s case to imprison him for life. The Supreme Court ruled that Osh Regional Court retries the suspect.
Osh Region’s Kara-Su District Court sentenced Mr. Bizurukov on 26 September 2012 to seven-year imprisonment based on charges of illegal deprivation of liberty, but cleared him of the murder charge. However, a month later, the Osh Regional Court found him guilty on both counts and adjusted the sentence to life-long imprisonment. This court also ruled the defendant had to compensate some US$5,300 to the family of Almaz Askarov, whom Mr. Bizurukov allegedly killed.
Lawyer Galbay Pratov, who represents Mr. Bizurukov, provided the court with a power of attorney issued for Ms. Dina Ivashchenko to represent the Bizurukovs family at the hearing. The Judge accepted the power of attorney. Lawyer Pratov has also filed a motion to hear two witnesses from the Osh Sheyitteri Union, which represents June 2010 victims’ interests. The two witnesses wanted to testify in Mr. Bizurukov’s defense, but the Judge declined the motion.
Ms. Ivashchenko told Fergana that the Bizurukovs have arrived in Bishkek but were afraid to attend the trial, fearing for their security and safety. Their concerns were legitimate: Ms. Dilbar Kochkonova, the late Almaz Askarov’s mother, harassed Ms. Ivashchenko and abused her before the trial.
According to Mr. Pratov, the criminal investigation into his client’s case was incomplete; he also listed several regulations the investigation bodies violated. Ms. Ivashchenko has positively characterized Mr. Makhamat Bizurukov and his late father, who died in a pre-trial detention facility in the fall of 2012. The speeches Mr. Pratov and Ms. Ivashchenko delivered were accompanied by discontent and negative exclamations from the claimant’s supporters – a group of about a dozen of aggressive women.
The claimants’ lawyer, Mr. Nyshanov, attempted to confuse the court, claiming the defendant side offered 1 million Kyrgyz soms [a little over US$21,000] to settle the case. However, the reality is just the opposite: the claimants attempted to extort said monies from the defendant’s family, which was confirmed by Ms. Ivashchenko today.
The prosecutor confirmed there were shortcomings and gaps during the investigation, and the case needed to be re-investigated. The Supreme Court then ruled to cancel the second level court’s sentencing of Mr. Bizurukov to life-long imprisonment and to re-try him at the Osh Regional Court.
Fergana reminds that it was this very Osh Regional Court that ruled to imprison Mr. Bizurukov for life. So the court now faces a dilemma: either it has to acknowledge its own previous ruling as unjust and wrongful or to confirm Mr. Bizurukov’s guilt whatever the cost.