Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Undead Kyrgyz Protester Resurfaces

By Nazira Turdalieva, Elmira Naskeeva











As Kyrgyzstan marked the first anniversary of the April 2010 revolution which forced President Kurmanbek Bakiev from office and left over 70 protesters dead, a scandal has erupted around one victim who turns out to be alive and well.

The Kyrgyz parliament has been shown a video of taxi driver Maralbek Maksembekov being interviewed in Russia, although he was reported as having been killed when security forces fired on anti-Bakiev demonstrators last year.

Maksembekov was not in Kyrgyzstan during last year’s protests, and was out of contact with his family there. His son is accused of forging documents so that he could claim compensation from the state.

Questions are now being asked about the procedures used by state institutions to verify and document reported deaths of this kind, since someone’s body was identified as that of Maksembekov at a Bishkek morgue, with cause of death put down as gunshot wounds. 

The audio programme, in Russian and Kyrgyz, went out on national radio stations in Kyrgyzstan, as part of IWPR project work funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.