The interim authorities in Kyrgyzstan have stripped ousted president Kurmanbek Bakiyev of his immunity to prosecution and will arrest him if he does not surrender, a top official said on Tuesday.
The interim government -- which came to power after Bakiyev was toppled in a popular uprising last week -- issued a decree to remove his immunity to prosecution, its deputy head Azimbek Beknazarov told reporters.
"We have waited for him until today but he is holding a meeting in Jalalabad," said Beknazarov. Bakiyev fled to the southern Jalalabad region, his stronghold, after fleeing the capital Bishkek.
"A criminal investigation has been opened," Beknazarov added. "If Bakiyev does not come by the afternoon, we will begin an operation to detain him with the help of the special services," he said.
Until now the interim authorities have said they would hold back from arresting Bakiyev to avoid bloodshed.