Bakiyev’s extradition is a personal matter for President Lukashenko

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April 22, 2016 18:19

Extradition request concerning members of Bakiyev’s family is an extremely sensitive issue for President Lukashenko. Belarusian authorities will not extradite and will put pressure on Kyrgyzstan through various channels in response.

On October 2nd, Kyrgyz MFA reiterated that it was still waiting for Belarus’ response to the official note requesting extradition of the former Kyrgyz head Kurmanbek Bakiyev.

To extradite former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev and his brother Zhanybek, currently in Belarus, would be extremely difficult. The main reason is President Lukashenko’s personal involvement in their fate. In particular, in 2010, the Belarusian president said that he personally had invited Bakiyev in Belarus.

As a result, Belarusian law enforcement authorities refuse to extradite Bakiyev’s family members. Repeated extradition requests from the Kyrgyz Prosecutor’s Office regarding Kurmanbek Bakiyev and Zhanybek Bakiyev have been rejected by the Belarusian Prosecutor General’s Office on the grounds that at home they may be subject to political persecution. Such a waiver is envisaged by the Convention on legal assistance and legal relations in civil, family and criminal cases (1993 and 2002), to which Kyrgyzstan refers its extradition requests.

The situation is overcomplicated by the fact that Zhanybek Bakiyev has been declared internationally wanted by Interpol. Also Belarus has the sovereign right to decide on the issue. Finally, Belarus does not extradite its own citizens: unofficial reports say, that Kurmanbek Bakiyev was granted Belarusian citizenship back in 2010. It is likely his brother Zhanybek also has a Belarusian passport. The detention of Bakiyev’s proxy, former director of Gosmatreserves Mr. Rakhmanov, who possessed Belarusian passport, issued in 2011, also confirms these reports.

In Bakeyevs’ case, Belarus is not limited to passive defense, but actively attacks. Earlier, President Lukashenko said that Kyrgyzstan was not ready to join the Common Economic Space, and that it still had a lot to do in this regard. Also Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of Belarus to Kazakhstan Mr. Brylev said in an interview with, that Belarus was not ready to see Kyrgyzstan in the Customs Union until political issues had been resolved. The main issue in question is Bakiyevs’ case, which has already resulted in the recall of Kyrgyz Ambassador from Minsk.

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President Lukashenka continues to rotate staff and rejuvenate heads of departments and universities following new appointments in regional administrations. Apparently, new Information Minister Karliukevich could somewhat relax the state policy towards the independent media and introduce technological solutions for retaining control over Belarus’ information space. New rectors could strengthen the trend for soft Belarusization in the regions and tighten the disciplinary and ideological control over the student movement in the capital.

President Lukashenka has appointed new ministers of culture and information, the new rector of the Belarusian State University and heads of three universities, assistants in the Minsk and Vitebsk regions.

The new Information Minister Karliukevich is likely to avoid controversial initiatives similar to those former Minister Ananich was famous for, however, certainly within his capacities. Nevertheless, the appointment of Belarusian-speaking writer Karliukevich could be regarded as the state’s cautious attempt to relax environment in the media field and ensure the sovereignty of national media.

The Belarusian leadership has consolidated the trend for mild Belarusization by appointing a young historian and a ‘reasonable nationalist’, Duk as the rector at the Kuleshov State University in Mogilev. Meanwhile, while choosing the head of the Belarusian State University, the president apparently had in mind the strengthening of the ideological loyalty among the teaching staff and students at the main university in order to keep the youth movement at bay. Previously, Korol was the rector of the Kupala State University in Grodno, where he held purges among the disloyal teaching staff.

The trend for the renewal of mid-ranking executives and their rejuvenation has confirmed. The age of the Culture Minister and three new rectors varies from 39 to 44 years old.