Interim Kyrgyz regime says it will not arrest Bakiyev



Interim Kyrgyz regime says it will not arrest Bakiyev Moscow: Softening its stand, Kyrgyzstan's new interim government Thursday said it will not arrest deposed President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who has taken refuge in the south of the central Asian country following last week's bloody riots, even as the beleaguered leader spoke to Russian Premier Vladimir Putin in an apparent bid to strike a compromise.

"He enjoys personal immunity and has freedom to travel in the country. In accordance with the law we don't have the right to detain or arrest him," chief of the Interim Prime Minister's Secretariat Edil Baisalov was quoted as saying by Interfax.

Interim Prime Minister Roza Otunbayeva, who has been backed by Russia, had earlier insisted that Bakiyev be "put on trial in the court" for the bloodshed during the recent protests against his regime, rejecting his offer to step down in exchange for security guarantee for him and his close relatives.

One of the vice premiers too had announced that Bakiyev has been stripped of his immunity and a special commando group was ready to arrest him.

The U-turn by the interim government is said to be the result of back channel diplomacy by Russia, US and international organisations.

Last night, Bakiyev had called up Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin, the first time the leaders spoke after the ouster of the Kyrgyz leader. Although no details of their telephonic conversation were released, but it is believed that Putin could have given him some assurances.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev had come down heavily on Bakiyev government, blaming it for the unrest and said the risk of a civil war in the Central Asian country is high.

US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake also had talks yesterday in Bishkek with Otunbayeva and urged her to restore law and order in the country.

Kyrgyzstan, a predominantly Muslim country hosts a key American airbase which a key transit point for US troops going to Afghanistan.

Earlier today, Bakiyev, who has taken refuge in his native village Tyeit in Jalal-Abad region after fleeing capital Bishkek on April 7, had had to make a hasty retreat after his opponents clashed with his supporters at a rally in the main southern city of Osh.

According to Central Asian News Channel 'K+', Bakiyev's bodyguards had to fire shots in the air and he hurriedly left for his home-town Jalal-Abad 100 km from Osh.

PTI