Former Kyrgyz Lawmaker Japarov Goes On Trial

BISHKEK -- The trial of a former Kyrgyz lawmaker Sadyr Japarov, who is charged with taking a government official hostage in 2013, started in Bishkek on June 6.

Sadyr Japarov has rejected the charges, saying that they are politically motivated.

Japarov was detained on March 25 upon his return to Kyrgyzstan from three years of self-imposed exile abroad.

He was charged with hostage-taking, making a death threat, hooliganism, and violent assault of a government official.

The charges are linked to Japarov's role in 2013 protests around the Kumtor Gold Mine by demonstrators, who demanded the mine's nationalization.

Japarov, who openly positions himself as an opposition politician, had been a senior member of the government and an adviser to former President Kurmanbek Bakiev.

After Bakiev was ousted in 2010, Japarov became a lawmaker in the Central Asian country's parliament.

In 2013, Japarov was sentenced to 18 months in prison on charges of attempting to violently seize power after he and two other lawmakers tried to force their way into the presidential palace during a protest.

Just three months after serving his term, Japarov was acquitted and released. He fled Kyrgyzstan later that year after current investigation had been launched against him.