11 January 2012 News Digest

By Alima Bissenova (01/11/2012 issue of the CACI Analyst)

Democratic Party should remain leader in Turkmenistan’s future multi-party system –Berdimuhamedov
16 December
A multi-party system may be created in Turkmenistan in the near future, but the Democratic Party, which is currently the only party in the country, should remain the leader, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow said. Turkmenistan's Democratic Party, "which is a big political force, should be a leader in everything," Berdimuhamedow said. In his congratulatory address to the people of Turkmenistan on the 20th anniversary of the country's only party, the president reiterated that ideological work among different population groups remains the main task of this political organization. The text of the address was published in the Turkmen press on Friday. "The Democratic Party, which has now become an active public force involved in the solution of major state and public policy issues, plays the main role in the propaganda and explanation of state policies," the president said. Outlining the party's priorities, Berdimuhamedow reiterated that "the party should conduct consistent explanatory work among the population together with other public organizations, revealing to the people the meaning and significance of public policy, which has great goals, the programs, which are aimed at ensuring a decent life for the country and its people." "You should actively use all of your methods to promote the development and strengthening of Turkmen society in the era of the new Renaissance and great changes," Berdimuhamedow said. Berdimuhamedow wished his comrades to always follow the principles of democracy in the development of Turkmen society. (Interfax)

Death toll from Zhanaozen riots soars to 13 –Kazakh prosecutors
18 December
The number of people killed in riots in the city of Zhanaozen (in the Mangistau region in western Kazakhstan) has risen to 13, Prosecutor General's Office spokesman Nurdalet Suindikov told a press conference in Astana on Sunday. Earlier eleven deaths were reported. "According to the latest reports, 86 people were injured and 13 killed as a result of the riots," he said. "Some of these people died as a result of the actions by the wrongdoers. For instance, the father of slain Atabergen Khasanuly Dyusekenov, born 1987, who worked as a teacher at a Zhanaozen vocational school, complained to the law enforcement agencies that his son was killed by the unruly elements in the city square on December 16 for taking his students out for the festivities," Suindikov said. Some people sustained shotgun wounds and bodily injuries caused other than by firearms and riot control weapons, he said "During the crackdown law enforcement officers did not use shotguns and did not enter contact with the assailants, so any possibility of causing injuries of the aforesaid nature is ruled out," he said. Efforts are under way to find and arrest the masterminds of the mass riots and looting, Suindikov said. Mass riots occurred in Zhanaozen on December 16, during the celebration of the country's 20th independence anniversary. Prosecutor General Askhat Daulbayev said earlier that, "the civilians, who assembled in the central square to celebrate the country's 20th independence anniversary, were attacked by a group of hooligans." "Having grossly violated public order, the hooligans attacked police officers, turned over the Christmas tree, destroyed yurts and a stage put up on the occasion, and torched a police bus," Daulbayev said. When ordered by police to stop their unlawful actions, the hooligans attacked the law enforcers in order to seize their weapons, the prosecutor general said. "In doing so they also used cold weapons," he said. The city council building, hotels and the office building of the OzenMunaiGaz company were burnt down as a result of the mass riots. The rioters also destroyed individual and commercial properties, burnt down cars and robbed ATMs. (Interfax)

Russian Envoy Says Relations with Tajikistan “friendly”
23 December
Russia's ambassador to Tajikistan says Russian-Tajik relations are friendly and unaffected by a dispute over the prosecution of two pilots working for a Russian company, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports. Yury Popov told RFE/RL on December 22 that media reports of tension between Moscow and Dushanbe are the "incorrect thoughts of some journalists." He said the sentencing and later release by Tajik officials of two pilots from the Russian company Rolkan Investment did not negatively impact the "friendly relations" between Russia and Tajikistan. Moscow initially recalled its ambassador from Dushanbe and hundreds of Tajik workers were detained by Russian officials with many of them being sent back to Tajikistan. Those actions angered many Tajiks but tensions calmed after the pilots were released from jail and allowed to leave Tajikistan. Popov noted that Moscow and Dushanbe are in the process of extending the leases for Russian military bases in Tajikistan. He said Russia's "national interests" in Tajikistan are "well-protected." Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to Tajikistan in the fall resulted in reports that Moscow is seeking to prolong the presence of its military in Tajikistan by 49 years and that a document extending the stay of Russian forces in the country will be ready for approval by February. But some Tajik experts say they don't think Dushanbe-Moscow relations are strong and point to Tajikistan's poor relations with Uzbekistan, a dispute that many feel Russia helps to provoke. (RFE/RL)

Turkey, Azerbaijan sign pipeline deal
28 December
Turkey and Azerbaijan this week signed an agreement for a new "Trans-Anatolian" natural gas pipeline stretching from Turkey's eastern to western borders. The 2,400-mile, $5 billion pipeline would transit natural gas from Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz II fields in the Caspian Sea across Turkey and would become part of the basis of a new Southern Corridor gas route to European markets. The stand-alone pipeline could also be connected to proposed Nabucco pipeline project, which is designed to carry gas from the Caspian region and the Middle East through Turkey to Europe. The deal to build the Trans-Anatolian pipeline was signed in Ankara Monday by Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz and Natiq Aliyev, Azerbaijan's industry and energy minister. Aliyev said the pipeline start out carrying 16 billion cubic meters of gas per year but eventually could increase that amount to 24 billion cubic meters per year, the Turkish daily Today's Zaman reported. Of that amount, 6 billion cubic meters would be sold to Turkey while some 10 billion cubic meters would go to European markets, Aliyev said. A consortium consisting of the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijani Republic -- SOCAR -- the state-owned Turkish Pipeline Corp. -- or BOTAS -- and the Turkish Petroleum Corp. was established to construct the project. Others would be allowed to join the consortium once the project is under way, the two energy ministers said, adding plans are to begin to start construction as soon as possible in 2012 and complete the pipeline by late 2017. Yildiz said the Trans-Anatolian project doesn't mean Ankara has backed off on its support for the ambitious, EU-backed Nabucco pipeline, which some analysts have said would be made redundant by the new pipeline, the Anatolian News Agency reported. "We are Nabucco's partner and we have 16 percent share," he said. "We have made a hard effort to realize that [Nabucco] project and continue to make efforts. (UPI)

Kazakhstan probes police use of weapons
29 December
Prosecutors in Kazakhstan have opened a criminal inquiry into the use of weapons by police after 16 protesters were killed earlier this month. The deaths occurred in clashes between police and oil protesting workers in Zhanaozen on 16 and 17 December. A "criminal enquiry into the use of weapons by the security forces" had been opened, the prosecutor-general's office said on Thursday. The violence was the worst since Kazakhstan's independence 20 years ago. The investigation comes after video footage emerged on the internet appearing to show security forces beating and shooting people. Eyewitnesses said police fired on unarmed oil workers, who had been protesting for months, in the town of 90,000. But police say they were forced to defend themselves. A 20-day curfew is in effect until 5 January. "General prosecutors opened a criminal enquiry into the use of weapons by the security forces which were aimed at hitting (their targets) and caused death," the prosecutors' spokesman Nurdaulet Suindikov said in a statement. "An investigation group headed by a special prosecutor will carry out the investigation to ensure impartiality," the statement added. The move marks the first time since the incident that Kazakh prosecutors have accused the police of firing on the protesters. Last week Kazakhstan asked the UN to help investigate the violence. Separately, the privately-owned Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency reports that 18 people accused of taking part in the disturbances and looting have been arrested. The governor of the Mangistau region, where the clashes occurred, has reportedly been sacked, along with the local boss of the state oil firm. President Nursultan Nazarbayev has fired his son-in-law, Timur Kulibayev, from his position as head of Kazakhstan's sovereign wealth fund, which holds stakes in the companies whose workers were striking. Correspondents say Mr Nazarbayev is keen to maintain his country's reputation as a bastion of stability in central Asia. (BBC)

Tbilisi, Tskhinvali Exchange Detainees
30 December
Tbilisi and Tskhinvali exchanged thirteen detainees from each side on December 30 as agreed during a meeting in frames of Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism in Dvani last week. The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis, welcomed the exchange, which is the largest such swap in recent years. Tbilisi and Tskhinvali exchanged seven detainees from each side in February, 2011. “Today’s exchange of detainees is an important step towards building trust and helping to ensure freedom of movement,” Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis said in a statement. “I welcome the constructive and co-operative approach by the authorities that resulted in this exchange.” He said that the exchange of detainees, agreed in frames of the mechanism co-facilitated by the OSCE and EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM), was an example that the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism was “an important tool for resolving issues on the ground.”“I encourage the participants to make full use of this mechanism with the aim of addressing further challenges which affect the lives and livelihoods of people on both sides of the administrative boundary line,” the Lithuanian Foreign Minister said. (Civil Georgia)

Eleventh Georgian Soldier Dies in Afghanistan
31 December
Corporal Besik Niniashvili from the 31st light infantry battalion of the third brigade deployed in the Helmand province of Afghanistan was killed “as a result of mine explosion”, the Georgian Ministry of Defense said on December 31. The latest death brings to eleven the total number of Georgian soldiers killed in Afghanistan, since joining the NATO-led operation in November, 2009. The Georgian troops in Afghanistan operate without caveats. In a period of his service in the army Corporal Niniashvili, who joined the Georgian Armed Forces in 2007, was awarded with the Medal for Outstanding Combat Service, Honorary Certificate, Medal for Combat Wound and Medal for Participation in International Operations, MoD said. MoD did not provide other details of circumstances in which Corporal Niniashvili was killed. On December 20 the Parliament approved President Saakashvili’s request to send one additional infantry battalion to Afghanistan on top of 936 Georgian soldiers who already serve as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). As a result, after sending one more battalion – that is 749 soldiers – Georgia will become the largest non-NATO contributor to ASAF with total of 1,685 troops. (Civil Georgia)


Kyrgyz Citizen sentenced to death in China
4 January
A Kyrgyz citizen has been sentenced to death in western China on drug-related charges, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports. Azat Erkebaev, head of the visa section of the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry in Urumqi, capital of China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, told RFE/RL that he did not know when the sentence was due to be carried out. Erkebaev added that 15 other Kyrgyz citizens were currently in custody in Xinjiang. Erkebaev said that in 12 of the cases the court has already issued verdicts, while the other three trials are ongoing. Most of the Kyrgyz are charged with selling drugs, which is often punishable by death in China. The Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry says there are some 1,500 entrepreneurs from Kyrgyzstan regularly conducting business in Xinjiang, where an estimated 200,000 ethnic Kyrgyz live. (RFE/RL)

Kazakh President Extends State of Emergency in Oil City
4 January
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has issued a decree extending until January 31 a state of emergency in the western oil city of Zhanaozen, where at least 16 people were killed in violent clashes last month. The state of emergency, imposed the day after the December 16 clashes, had been due to expire on January 5. No reason was given for the extension. The clashes coincided with celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of independence and came after a seven-month strike by oil workers. Authorities blamed the violence on "hooligans" and arrested dozens of people on suspicion of triggering the clashes. Prosecutors also opened an investigation into accusations police fired on demonstrators after video footage posted online showed police apparently beating and shooting at oil workers. The United States and the European Union have expressed concern over the violence and urged authorities to conduct a transparent investigation. Kazakhstan holds an early parliamentary election on January 15 in which Nazarbaev's Nur Otan party is widely expected to win a majority of seats. (RFE/RL)

HRW Report on Georgia's 'Flawed' Administrative Offenses System
4 January
Georgia’s system for handling administrative offenses is "flawed", which "lacks full due process and fair trial rights" for defendants, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on January 4. Georgia’s justice system differentiates between criminal offenses and administrative offenses, which are misdemeanors. Penalties for administrative offenses range from a fine to imprisonment of up to 90 days. Maximum imprisonment term was increased from 30 to 90 days following anti-government street protest rallies in 2009 - the move criticized in the EU report as “not fully in compliance with international human rights standards.” The 41-page report by the Human Rights Watch, Administrative Error: Georgia’s Flawed System for Administrative Detention, points out number of problems, among them the disparity in rights enjoyed by detainees held for administrative offenses, and those enjoyed by criminal defendants. The administrative offenses code, which, the report says, "the authorities have used in recent years to lock up protestors and activists at times of political tension", does not require police to inform defendants of their rights promptly or to provide reasons for their detention and detainees often are not allowed to contact their families, while lawyers have difficulty finding detainees in custody. The report says that trials into the administrative offenses are often "perfunctory". (Civil Georgia)

Afghanistan’s claim of abuse at U.S.-run prison strains negotiations
7 January
American military was accused Saturday of abusing detainees at its main prison in the country, bolstering calls by President Hamid Karzai for the U.S. to turn over control of the facility and complicating talks about America's future role in Afghanistan. The investigators also called for any detainee held without evidence to be freed, putting the U.S. and Afghan governments on a collision course in an issue that will decide the fate of hundreds of suspected Taliban and al-Qaida operatives captured by American forces and held indefinitely. Karzai took Washington by surprise Thursday when he ordered that the U.S. military turn over full control of the prison outside Bagram Air Base within one month, a seemingly impossible deadline given U.S. security concerns about the prisoners and the Afghan government's weak administrative capacity. The countries had been working on phasing a transfer of responsibility of the prison, which holds 3,000 detainees, over two years. Detainees interviewed during two visits to the U.S.-run portion of the Parwan detention center outside Bagram Air Base - about 25 miles north of Kabul - complained of freezing cold, humiliating strip searches and being deprived of light, according to Gul Rahman Qazi, who led the investigation ordered by Karzai. U.S. Embassy spokesman Gavin Sundwall said Saturday that American officials only recently received the commission's report. He said the U.S. investigates all allegations of prisoner abuse. (AP)

Afghan ‘soldier’ kills NATO serviceman in Zabul
9 January
A man dressed in Afghan army uniform has shot dead a Nato soldier in southern Afghanistan, the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) says. Nato said a coalition service-member was killed in Zabul province on Sunday, apparently by a member of the Afghan National Army. Afghan military sources said the Afghan man was then shot dead by Nato troops. It is the latest in a series of attacks by apparently rogue soldiers, which have raised fears of Taliban influence. This incident is said to have taken place inside an army base in Zabul. "Right now, an investigation is going on to determine whether he really was a soldier or someone using an army uniform. And if he was a soldier, what caused the shooting," Afghan army spokesman Gen Mohammad Zahir Azimi told the Associated Press news agency on Sunday. The last such attack was on 29 December 2010 when an Afghan army soldier shot dead two French troops. Days earlier, an Afghan soldier opened fire on international troops in Herat province, wounding a number of coalition troops. NATO is in the process of handing over security responsibility across the country to Afghan forces as international troops prepare to withdraw from Afghanistan. The Afghan army has strict security screening procedures for its recruits, but there have been several incidents in which its personnel have fired on foreign soldiers. Several such incidents were also later found to have been carried out by insurgents dressed in Afghan army uniforms. (BBC)

Turkish Ambassador Returns to France
9 January
The Turkish ambassador to France, Tahsin Burcuoglu, has reportedly returned to Paris at the weekend more than two weeks after being recalled to Ankara in protest against a French bill that makes it illegal to deny that Ottoman massacres of Armenians constituted geonicide. “The ambassador has finished the consultations for which he was recalled and returned to France on Saturday [January 7],” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal told the AFP news agency on January 8. “Hurriyet Daily News” reported last week that Burcuoglu would be sent back to Paris to “coordinate” Turkish efforts to prevent the genocide bill’s passage by the French Senate. The Senate is expected to debate and vote on the measure, strongly condemned by Turkey, later this month. The French government and the opposition Socialist Party, which holds a majority of seats in the chamber, have signaled support for its passage. The Turkish ambassador was recalled for consultations immediately after the bill was approved by the lower house of France’s parliament, the National Assembly, on December 22. Ankara reacted furiously to that vote, banning French military aircraft and warships from landing and docking in Turkey and freezing political and economic meetings. (RFE/RL)

10 killed in Taliban attack on government building in east Afghanistan
10 January
Taliban insurgents stormed a government building in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday, setting off a firefight that killed 10 people, the Interior Ministry said, the latest sign of insurgent strength after a decade of war. A statement said three attackers broke into a communications building in Sharan, the provincial capital, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) south of Kabul. In the ensuing firefight two of the attackers set off their suicide bomb vests, it said. In addition to the three attackers, three policemen and four employees of the Telecommunications Ministry were killed in the attack, the statement said. Two officers and a civilian were injured. The Taliban claimed responsibility and said it involved multiple targets. In a statement emailed to journalists, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the governor’s office, the provincial reconstruction team and the intelligence headquarters were all hit. The ministry, however, said only one building was attacked. Paktika province borders Pakistan and is one of the main routes for Taliban fighters infiltrating into eastern Afghanistan from their sanctuaries across the border. It is also one of the main strongholds of the al-Qaida-linked Haqqani network, which has been blamed for a series of spectacular attacks, including suicide bombings inside Kabul. (AP)

Uzbekistan resumes gas supplies to Russia
10 January
Uzbekistan resumed gas supplies to Russia at the beginning of January after halting it in the last week of December, Russia's Central Dispatching Department of the Fuel and Energy Complex (CDU TEK) said. Reduced Uzbek gas supplies to Russia began at the end of November in relation to the balance sheet instruction (over 27 million cu m per day). Throughout December, supplies fell day after day, and on December 26, they stopped altogether. On the New Year, supplies resumed - during the first week, Uzbekistan supplied a symbolic 2-3 million cu m of gas to Russia. Over the last few days, they have exceeded 10 million cu m per day. However, this is still significantly below the daily plan (27.4 million cu m). Gas consumption in Uzbekistan is characterized by high seasonal fluctuations. During cold periods, the country reduces and often completely halts exports, instead using the gas for its own internal needs. Sources in the gas industry say that during such periods, Uzbekistan frequently bleeds out Turkmen gas purchased by Gazprom (RTS: GAZP) from transit pipelines. According to the CDU TEK, there is evidence confirming such assumptions for the month of December. In agreement with its contract, Gazprom purchases no less than 30 million cu m of gas per day from Turkmenistan. However, in the last days of December, Turkmen gas supplies to Russia were 1.5-4.3 million cu m below the daily plan. Last winter, Uzbek halted gas exports abroad in February and March. (Interfax)

President Vows to Make Turkmenistan ‘Industrial Power’
10 January
Incumbent Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov kicked off his reelection campaign by vowing to turn Turkmenistan "into an industrial power." With a presidential election scheduled for February 12, Berdymukhammedov said on national television on January 9 new factories would be built to help the country move from an agricultural-based economy. On agriculture, Berdymukhammedov said the emphasis would shift from herding to farming. Turkmenistan is nearly 90 percent desert. Berdymukhammedov also spoke of the need for new political parties that would "inspire people to conscientiously work for the sake of further enlightenment of our homeland." He also mentioned "organizing independent media outlets," but did not elaborate. All media in Turkmenistan are state-owned. Berdymukhammedov also made an unusual promise, saying he wished to build a skiing area in the Kopetdag hills, near Ashgabat, with equipment to make artificial snow and "possibly" an outdoor ice-skating rink. Temperatures can fall to below freezing in the winter but Turkmenistan is better known for its hot climate, with temperatures reaching into the 50s Celsius in summer. (RFE/RL)

Afghan suicide bomb kills senior official in Kandahar
11 January
A suicide bomber in southern Afghanistan has killed a district governor who was considered to be an important figure in the peace process. Sayed Fazuldin Agha, the governor of Panjwai District in Kandahar, was targeted by a car bomb. Two of his sons and two guards were also killed in the attack. A BBC correspondent says Mr Agha had recently persuaded several groups of Taliban militants to stop fighting and be reconciled with government forces. The attack took place on a road between Mr Agha's home district and Kandahar city, in the Kobi area. The bomber rammed a car packed with explosives into the vehicle carrying the district governor. Nine policemen and a civilian were injured. Sayed Fazuldin Agha, who took up his position a year ago, was considered one of the most successful district governors in Afghanistan. The BBC's Bilal Sarwary, in Kabul, says he was credited with bringing relative security to a once restive district, as well as bringing groups of Taliban fighters back into the government. A number of government officials in Afghanistan have been assassinated in recent months by militants opposed to the Afghan government. Kandahar's police chief was targeted by a suicide attack within the police building on Wednesday, but only the bomber was killed. (BBC)

Election will be held in volatile Kazakh city
11 January
Kazakhstan's Central Election Commission and the country's Constitutional Council have approved holding parliamentary elections in the western city of Zhanaozen where violence last month left at least 16 people dead, some 100 injured, and caused extensive property damage. The Constitutional Council ruled on January 6 that since Zhanaozen remained under curfew until the end of January it would not be possible to hold elections and guarantee voters' safety. President Nursultan Nazarbaev vetoed that ruling on January 10, saying it deprived Zhanaozen residents of their right to vote. The commission backed the Constitutional Council's decision but on January 11 commission Deputy Chairman Vladimir Foos said the election would go ahead in Zhanaozen. Constitutional Council Chairman Igor Rogov said the council would not overrule the president's veto. Elections to Kazakhstan's Mazhilis, or lower house of parliament, are set for January 15. (RFE/RL)

Turkmen parliament passes bill on political parties
11 January
The Turkmen parliament, the Mejlis, has passed into law a bill On Political Parties, local newspapers reported on Wednesday. The bill was drawn up in line with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Turkmenistan joined in 1996, and Article 30 of the Turkmen Constitution, which guarantees people's right to establish political parties. The new law stipulates the legal foundations for establishing political parties, their rights and duties and guarantees of their activities and regulates their relations with government bodies and other organizations, local media said. The law also regulates the procedures for establishing parties, activities, reorganization, and liquidation of political parties and social relations arising from the people's decision to exercise their right to set up political parties. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow has suggested repeatedly that Turkmenistan should start gradually setting up a multi-party political system and called on the parliament to take more active steps in this direction. Berdimuhamedow, who is to run in the February 12 presidential elections, said in his recent program statement shown on national television that Turkmenistan "needs parties that would consolidate the people and inspire them to work creatively to promote our Homeland's prosperity." (Interfax)

Iran can start building nuclear weapon in one year –experts
11 January
Iran will be able to possess uranium enrichment technology sufficient for building a nuclear explosive device in a year, in the view of authoritative Russian experts. "Iran needs not more than a year to build a nuclear explosive device and then a nuclear warhead - surely if Tehran makes such a political decision," says Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Vladimir Dvorkin, the chief research associate with the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute of World Economy and International Relations. In commenting on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports that Iran has started operations to enrich uranium to 20% at an underground facility near Qom, Dvorkin said, "Iran has enriched uranium to 20% for quite a while, as it claimed, for a research reactor. It is another matter that now it can produce enriched uranium in a larger amount." This level of enrichment is not enough to build a nuclear explosive device or a nuclear warhead, Dvorkin said. "However, this undoubtedly advances Iran to increasing uranium-235 concentration to 80%-90%, which is sufficient to build a nuclear explosive device or a nuclear warhead," he said. Col. Gen. (Ret.) Viktor Yesin, a former chief of staff of the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces (RVSN), shares this opinion. "Uranium enrichment to 20% is not a step that can help creating a nuclear explosive device, not to mention a nuclear warhead. But, reaching the 20% enrichment level, the rest of the way toward enrichment up to 90% can be covered fairly quickly - in about a year," Yesin said. Iran's goal now is to perfect a technology for enriching uranium to 20% and set up a full-cycle nuclear material processing infrastructure, after which it could switch to developing nuclear warheads, he said. (Interfax-AVN)

Brother of Former Kyrgyz President moved out of Prison
11 January
The jailed brother of former Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev has been transferred from prison to a halfway house as part of a plan to allow Akhmat Bakiev to serve out his seven-year sentence at home. Kyrgyz State Service for Sentences Implementation spokesman Joldoshbek Buzurmankulov told RFE/RL on January 10 that Bakiev had been transferred to correctional institution No. 35 in Bishkek on January 4. Buzurmankulov said Bakiev will stay in the halfway house until January 14 and then move home while maintaining registration with the halfway house. "Once a week, he will have to report to a parole officer," Buzurmankulov said. Akhmat Bakiev was jailed for seven years in August for crimes committed following his brother's ouster as president in 2010. He was found guilty of organizing mass unrest and violent attacks on security officials, extortion, illegal use of private land, illegal procurement and possession of weapons, and creating and participating in an illegal armed group during ethnic clashes in May-June 2010. Akhmat Bakiev was arrested in the southern city of Jalal-Abad on June 23, 2010, just weeks after clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz left more than 400 people dead. Then-President Kurmanbek Bakiev fled Kyrgyzstan in the wake of antigovernment protests in April 2010. He is currently living in Belarus. The ousted head of state and another of his brothers, Janysh, along with more than 20 other aides and associates of the former president, are being tried in absentia in connection with the deaths of nearly 100 people when security forces fired on protesters during the April demonstrations. The former president is also wanted by Kyrgyz officials on suspicion of embezzlement and abuse of power. (RFE/RL)