Kyrgyzstanis protest detention of musician in Kazakhstan

Protestors in Bishkek call for release of Kyrgyz musician held in Kazakhstan

Protestors in Bishkek call for the release of Kyrgyz musician held in Kazakhstan (Photo: Kabar)

BISHKEK: About 50 supporters, colleagues, friends and concerned citizens have gathered in front the Kazakhstan embassy in Kyrgyzstan to call for the release of Vikram Ruzakhunov, a well-known Kyrgyz jazz musician and the executive director of the Jazz Bishkek Spring Festival, who was detained in Kazakhstan and accused of taking part in the riots.

Kyrgyzstani  Denis Burlakov, a friend of the detaine,d said that Ruzakhunov left for Kazakhstan on Jan. 2, 2022 to work under a contract in Almaty.

“Later, as the situation in the neighboring country worsened, Vikram has stopped getting in touch. We are sure that he would not have taken part in the rally for $ 200, which he could easily earn at home,” he said, quoted by Kabar news agency.

Yulia Rutskaya, a singer, said that she personally knew Ruzakhunov as a well-mannered and adequate person.

“He did not live in poverty. He has two personal cars in Bishkek, an apartment and a dacha. Why would he go to Almaty because of 90 thousand tenge? On the video distributed by the Kazakh media, it is obvious that he is beaten and can barely speak,” the singer said.

The participants prepared a letter to allow the musician back to his homeland.

Head of the State Committee for National Security of Kyrgyzstan Kamchybek Tashiev, who came to the rally, said that Kyrgyz jazzman Ruzakhunov is not a terrorist.

“He is a respectable person and he is not a terrorist,” Tashiev said. “We were touched by what the mass media of Kazakhstan write. We sent all the necessary information there. He just might have been at the wrong time and in the wrong place. The information of the state TV channels of Kazakhstan is incorrect. Neighbors need to change the rhetoric of the investigation. It is wrong to accuse our citizens of terrorism.”

Earlier the media of Kazakhstan showed a video footage in which the detainee claims that he flew from Kyrgyzstan to participate in the riot,s saying that unknown people had offered him to participate in the riots for 90,000 tenge, Labar reported.

Protestors call for allowing the detained musicisn to come home (Kabar)

Protestors call for allowing the detained musicisn to come home (Kabar)

The detainee said that on January 2 he was already in Almaty, after he was taken to an apartment, where there were also citizens of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan (about ten people).

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kyrgyzstan reported that he was often on tours in Almaty and on the eve of the new year was invited there to hold concerts.

“Vikram Ruzakhunov has no relatives in Kazakhstan and traveled only by invitation to hold concerts, as well as to participate in music festivals in Kazakhstan and the CIS countries,” the ministry said, assuring that appropriate measures are being taken to clarify all the circumstances of the arrest of this citizen.

Massive protests in neghboring Kazakhstan sparked on January 2 from anger over the hike of the price of car fuel in the western Mangistau region. The protests inexorably spread to major cities and mutated into calls for politicalchange, prompting the call by Tokayev to make the call for the intervention of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), an allaince of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.

On Friday, the parliament of Kyrgyzstan agreed to send Kyrgyz peacekeepers as part of the CSTO peacekeeping forces to Kazakhstan and President Sadyr Zhaparov later signed a decree to send the military contingent.

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