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Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 13:26 UK

Kyrgyzstan's ousted leader Bakiyev 'must stand trial'

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The BBC's Rayhan Demytrie describes a "tense meeting" of rival supporters in Jalabad

The interim leader of Kyrgyzstan has said ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev should stand trial over the recent deadly political unrest.

Roza Otunbayeva said Mr Bakiyev had "blood on his hands" and had missed his chance to leave the country.

Mr Bakiyev has said he was ready to negotiate and prepared to stand down if his safety could be guaranteed.

But he warned there could be further violence if attempts are made to arrest him by force.

Both the US and Russia have offered their assistance to the new administration.

Ms Otunbayeva was speaking after talks in the capital, Bishkek, with US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake.

"Bakiyev has exceeded the limits of his immunity by spilling blood and now he must be brought to trial and answer before the law," she said.

He understands how tragic the situation is, that he has no right to remain president
Activist Aziza Abdirasulova

Her comments appeared to be a rejection of Mr Bakiyev's earlier proposed conditions for this resignation.

On Tuesday, he said he would consider resigning if the self-declared interim government could put an end to unrest in the country and guarantee the safety of him and his family.

The fact that Mr Bakiyev's relatives held influential posts in his government played a significant role in the uprising against him.

Ms Otunbayeva said his relatives as well as the former defence minister were "people who shot citizens" and should also stand trial.

"There can be no discussion of assurances of their safety, except for their legal defence in court," she said.

The interim administration held a late-night meeting on Tuesday in Bishkek but made no announcement afterwards about whether they would accept Mr Bakiyev's conditions.

Tense city

Mr Bakiyev is currently in his home city of Jalalabad in the south of the country, where he has been trying to rally support.

ANALYSIS
Rayhan Demytrie
Rayhan Demytrie, BBC News, Jalalabad

We have been told there is going to be a rally here today organised by the interim opposition government. But it looks like the majority of people who are here, and there are up to 1,000 people, are supporters of President Bakiyev.

A group of women holding banners are standing on stage. One of the banners reads: "It was the opposition who shot at protestors." There are not many police in sight.

The atmosphere is quite tense. People are saying that Jalalabad supports the ousted president and they do not recognise the new interim government of Kyrgyzstan.

He told a group of rights activists he was prepared to stand trial as long as it was safe for him to do so, citing the the example of the country's interior minister, who was badly beaten in the unrest on 7 April.

"He understands how tragic the situation is, that he has no right to remain president. He said: 'I will not cling to the presidential seat'," activist Aziza Abdirasulova told Reuters news agency.

Mr Bakiyev said he would sign documents to legitimise the interim government but warned that any attempt to arrest him by force could result in further bloodshed.

The BBC's Rayhan Demytrie in Jalalabad says the interim government had planned a large rally in the city to demonstrate it has support in the south as well as the capital.

But there appeared to be many Bakiyev supporters in the crowd, says our correspondent, and the situation in the city was tense.

'Second Afghanistan'

Mr Blake is the most senior US official to visit Kyrgyzstan since fighting on 7 April left more than 80 people dead.

Dmitry Medvedev: I believe Kyrgyzstan is on the verge of civil war

He told reporters he felt "optimistic" about the steps the interim government was taking and offered US assistance.

The US has a crucial airbase in Kyrgyzstan and has been closely watching the unfolding events to see whether the new administration will allow its continued presence.

AFP news agency quoted Ms Otunbayeva as saying she had not discussed the future of the base with Mr Blake.

Russia, which also has an airbase in the country, has said it will give $50m (£32m) in grants and loans to Kyrgyzstan to aid its recovery.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Kyrgystan's political problems were an internal affair, but that the economic and social situation in the country was "critical".

"According to the provisional government, the treasury is empty; the previous leadership has embezzled, pilfered and ruined everything," Russian news agencies quoted Mr Putin as saying.

"It's not up to us to judge it, but we've always had special relations with the Kyrgyz people, and we certainly must support our friends in a difficult moment."

A delegation from the new administration is currently visiting Moscow.

Mr Putin's comments came after President Dmitry Medvedev warned Kyrgyzstan was "on the brink of civil war" and in danger of becoming a "second Afghanistan".

Speaking in Washington, he said: "Some political leaders will have to make a decision about their fate."

Last week's violence was the culmination of weeks of discontent over rising prices and allegations of corruption in Kyrgyzstan.

The interim government has pledged to hold elections in six months' time.



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