Detained in Kazakhstan during the riots, Kyrgyz jazz musician is now home

Vikram following his release. On the left, Vikram during happier times playing music

Vikram following his release. On the left, Vikram during happier times playing music (Kabar)

BISHKEK: Kyrgyz musician Vikram Ruzakhunov, who was detained in Kazakhstan, has arrived on Monday evening in the capital Bishkek.

Today, at about 6:40 p.m. local time, he crossed the border at the Ak-Zhol checkpoint. Media representatives and activists waited for him at the checkpoint for several hours, but could not meet with him. He was taken away from the checkpoint in a consular car, Kabar news agency said.

Earlier the media of Kazakhstan showed a video footage in which the detainee claims that he flew from Kyrgyzstan to participate in the riots.

He said that unknown people offered him to participate in the riots for 90,000 tenge (about USD 200).

Vikram crossing the border (Kabar)

Vikram crossing the border (Kabar)

Kyrgyzstanis recognized the man in the video as a Kyrgyz citizen, pianist, arranger and executive director of the Jazz Bishkek Spring Festival.

The well-known jazz musician was detained and accused of taking part in riots in Kazakhstan. He was invited for concerts in Almaty before New Year, flying to the neighboring republic on January 2.

He was taken to an apartment where there were also citizens of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan (about ten people).

Kyrgyzstanis recognized the man in the video as a citizen of the

In its report, AKI Press reported that Vikram said that he heard from cell mates that if h makes a false confession in front of a Kazakh camera, he will be extradited to Bishkek.

“I decided to make a false statement. All confessions on the video are false. It was an easy way to get home soon. It has worked,” the musician said.

“I was not forced to confess. No tortures were used. The bruises on my face are the result of what happened in Samsy village during tough detention. Military used brutal force. They detained everyone – citizens of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and even Kazakhstan. Five Kyrgyzstanis were in my cell together with me. They are not guilty, they will be released tomorrow,” Ruzakhunov was quoted as saying.

During the week-end, Vikram’s family, friends and supporters protested in front of the Kazakhstan embassy in Bishkek calling for Vikram’s release and arguing that he could not be involved in the riots that shook the country.

Aziz,  the Kyrgyz fitness trainer who was killed in Kazakhstan (Kabar)

Aziz, the Kyrgyz fitness trainer killed in Kazakhstan (Kabar)

However, another Kyrgyz citizen was not so fortunate.

Aziz Musayev, a fitness trainer, was killed in Almaty during the riots, Ambassador of Kyrgyzstan to Kazakhstan Dastan Dyushekeev.

“The body was identified by colleagues and friends. Now the Consulate General in Almaty is clarifying the circumstances of the tragedy and is in touch with the relatives of the deceased,” said Dyushekeev.

Social media messages reported that Aziz Musayev died on Jan. 6, when he was walking home in Almaty.

His wife reportedly said that at 10.30 pm, Aziz was helping a wounded old man and at that moment he was shot and another passer-by was injured.

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