Wife Of Detained Former Kyrgyz Kumtor Gold Mine Manager Launches Hunger Strike

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The wife of the jailed former interim manager of Kyrgyzstan’s Kumtor gold, Tengiz Bolturuk, says she has gone on a hunger strike to protest against a court’s rejection of his request to be transferred from a pretrial detention center to house arrest.

Bolturuk’s wife, Ilmira Alpysbaeva, said in a Facebook post on March 13 that she was launching the hunger strike because the justice system was treating her husband unfairly.

The State Committee for National Security (UKMK) arrested Bolturuk and two of his associates — Aisha-Gul Janalieva and Ryspek Toktogulov — accusing the three of financial misdeeds.

Kyrgyzstan and the Kyrgyz state-owned gold mining company regained full control of the Kumtor gold mine earlier last year under the terms of a deal with the Canadian company Centerra Gold signed in April 2022.

Bolturuk, who previously represented Kyrgyzstan at Centerra Gold, was interim manager of Kumtor at the time.

Kumtor had been the target of financial and environmental disagreements for years before turning into the subject of a control battle between the Kyrgyz state and Centerra Gold.

The Kyrgyz government has insisted that Centerra’s operations endangered human lives and the environment, which the company denied.

In May 2021, the Canadian firm said it had “initiated binding arbitration to enforce its rights under long-standing investment agreements with the government.”

Many Kyrgyz lawmakers have expressed concern about an alleged lack of transparency at Kumtor since the Kyrgyz government took control of the gold mine.

Source : rferl.org