Kazakhstan State TV has paraded Vikram Ruzahunov, an Uyghur jazz musician from Kyrgyzstan, in front of the cameras for a coerced confession. Ruzahunov had multiple cuts and bruises on his face while appearing on the screen and 'confessing' that someone had paid him 200 dollars to enter Kazakhstan.
He said he had accepted the money because he was unemployed. He also claimed that other 'rioters' had come from neighboring Uzbekistan and Tajikistan after receiving a similar payment.
Ruzahunov's relatives said he had traveled to Kazakhstan on January 2, 2021, to hold a concert. After the protests broke out, he was arrested and forced to testify under duress. The relatives did not know Ruzahunov's whereabouts.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan informed that Ruzahunov had been invited to Almaty for a New Year's Eve concert. He had bought his plane ticket on December 16, 2021, and flew to Almaty on January 2nd. The ministry also announced that the musician has no relatives in Kazakhstan. He often participated in music festivals in Kazakhstan and other CIS member countries.
President of Kyrgyzstan, Sadyr Japarov said he is well aware of the situation of the detained Kyrgyz citizens and that some of them could have taken part in riots. The government will work to ensure innocent will be freed, he concluded.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kyrgyzstan summoned the Ambassador of Kazakhstan Rapil Joshybaev on January 9. about the detention of musician Vikram Ruzahunov on suspicion of involvement in the riots in Almaty. According to official information, during the meeting, Deputy Minister Azizbek Madmarov handed over a note about the arrest of Ruzahunov.
According to the Ministry press office, the First Deputy Minister Nuran Niyazaliev had a telephone conversation with Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan M. Syzdykov and Ambassador of Kazakhstan Rapil Joshybaev. Niyazaliev called on the Kazakh side to publish only verified and reliable information on the involvement of foreigners in the recent events in Kazakhstan. He also stressed the need to timely inform the diplomatic missions of Kyrgyzstan about the detention of its citizens.