Wed, 22 May 2019

BISHKEK -- A defense lawyer in a high-profile corruption case for former Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sapar Isakov says he has been targeted in a smear campaign by security officials.

A two-minute video, posted anonymously, has circulated on the Internet for several days with claims that Nurbek Toktakunov has psychological problems and was involved in the killing of a police officer in southern Kyrgyzstan during ethnic clashes in 2010.

Toktakunov told RFE/RL on February 21 that he thought the smear campaign was organized by the State Committee of National Security (UKMK) in an attempt to put pressure on his professional activities.

The video alleges that Toktakunov is a drug addict and claims he is a 'bad person' because 'his civil rights organization Precedent in Bishkek is financially supported by the United States.'

The video also criticizes Toktakunov for working as the defense attorney of human right activist Azimjan Askarov in 2010.

Askarov is serving a life sentence in prison on charges widely criticized as being politically motivated.

The video also contains intimate scenes, apparently shot by a hidden camera, showing a man who looks like Toktakunov with a woman.

UKMK spokesman Rakhat Sulaimanov told RFE/RL on February 21 that security officials had nothing to do with the video.

The video appeared on Facebook on February 19, a day after preliminary hearings started in the corruption case against Toktakunov's client Isakov and several other former top Kyrgyz officials.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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