Kyrgyzstan ex-leader jailed for corruption

Kyrgyzstan's former president, Almazbek Atambayev, has been sentenced to 11 years in prison on a corruption charge, state news agency Kabar reports.

Atambayev, who led the ex-Soviet republic in Central Asia from 2011 to 2017, was convicted of having been complicit in corruption when he arranged the release of a reputed mafia boss, Aziz Batukayev, in 2013.

Atambayev was detained last year during a long-running legal battle against corruption allegations that surfaced amid a personal rivalry with his successor, President Sooronbay Jeenbekov.

Kyrgyzstan's political sphere has been turbulent since its independence from the Soviet Union and it has experienced two revolutions in the past two decades, in 2005 and 2010.

A landlocked country that borders China, Kyrgyzstan maintains close ties with its former Soviet ruler, Moscow.

Weeks before he was detained, Atambayev sought support from Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting in Moscow. Putin subsequently expressed support for Jeenbekov.