Former Kyrgyzstan president faces mass killing charge

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The Independent Online

The interim government has charged its ousted president with "mass killing" after he allegedly ordered troops to fire on anti-government protesters during rallies in which at least 85 people died.

Officials will formally request the extradition of Kurmanbek Bakiyev from Belarus, which took him in last week after he fled in the wake of this month's bloody revolt and Moscow made clear he was not welcome in Russia.

"The former president has been charged with mass killing," said Azimbek Beknazarov, an interim vice-premier in charge of security. The extradition request would be sent "within days" and Mr Bakiyev, 60, may also be charged with abusing official powers, he added.

Meanwhile, investigators said they had found snow leopards, bear cubs and a golden eagle in Mr Bakiyev's private zoo after he fled the impoverished Central Asian country. The ex-president, accused by his opponents of plundering Kyrgyzstan's economy during five years in office, kept a menagerie in his home village that included falcons, an ostrich, swans, peacocks and ducks.