Bermet Akayeva, the 35-year-old daughter of former Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev, is the only member of her family to return to Kyrgyzstan following the "Tulip Revolution" of March 2005 that forced her father from power. Today, she remains under court order not to leave Bishkek, following her arrest in early May on charges of obstruction of justice. Her arrest and questioning by authorities stem from an April 24 public disturbance at the Kemin District courthouse in northern Kyrgyzstan, where Akayeva's supporters broke furniture and windows. The courthouse melee was a reaction to a legal ruling banning Akayeva from running in an April parliamentary by-election. The court based its decision on a finding that she had not lived in Kyrgyzstan for the last two years as required by law, a charge she denies. Akayev was interviewed in Bishkek on June 22.
EurasiaNet: Is this obstruction of justice charge going to go away? Akayeva: No, no. Yesterday (June 21) I was in interrogation. I think it's going to go to the courts and I think I'm going to get convicted. Just the way the investigation is going. This is my impression.
EurasiaNet: Do you think you will go to prison? Akayeva: I don't think so. I'm charged with obstruction of justice. They want some punishment, I think, but I believe it (a prison sentence) will be suspended.
Akayeva was interviewed in Bishkek on June 22 by Timothy Kenny, an associate professor of journalism at the University of Connecticut, and freelance reporter Ruslan Myatiyev, a recent graduate of the American University of Central Asia. Kenny, who has traveled to the region three times since 2003, is a former foreign editor and Fulbright scholar. He is researching a book on the development of media in Central Asia.