A well-known musicians wrongful arrest – returned to his home country of Kyrgyzstan on Monday after authorities in neighbouring Kazakhstan wrongly accused him of taking part in last week’s anti-government protests that roiled the ex-Soviet nation.
But for jazz pianist Vikram Ruzakhunov’s colleagues and activists, his release only highlights the plight of dozens of lesser-known Kyrgyz nationals detained in Kazakhstan as the country’s leadership attempts to pin the blame for the unrest on outside actors.
“We’re delighted that he returned home, but it’s only the beginning,” popular Kyrgyz singer Kairat Primberdiyev, who along with another famous singer Yulia Rutskaya organized rallies on Sunday outside the Kazakh Embassy in Bishkek demanding Ruzakhunov’s release, told The Moscow Times via social media.
Kyrgyzstan mistaken Identity – musicians wrongful arrest
“The world community needs to know that other Kyrgyz nationals have been detained in Kazakhstan, where authorities seem to want to blame Kyrgyz citizens for every terrorist crime,” he said.
Kazakhstan’s protests, which initially began over a New Year’s Day gas price hike, spilt over into political demands and eventually spiralled into violence, with dozens of deaths and 10,000 arrests.
Ruzakhunov, 36, appeared in a video confession broadcast on Kazakh state television Sunday to buttress the authorities’ claims of foreign links to the week of violence that rocked the energy-rich Central Asian nation.
It showed him with bruises and scratches on his swollen face while confessing to having been promised $200 for taking part in the rallies in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s biggest city.