[JURIST] Former Mongolian president Nambar Enkhbayar went on trial for corruption charges on Monday. Enkhbayar was arrested in April and charged with corruption and abuse of power during his time as president until 2009. Enkhbayar told reporters that he believed his trial was politically motivated [BBC report] in order to affect his chances in the upcoming election on June 28. He was arrested on April 13, shortly after releasing confidential government files documenting the response to a 2008 riot. In May, Amensty International (AI) [advocacy website] expressed concern [press release] about Enkhbayar’s treatment while in prison. Enkhbayar was released on on May 14 [BBC report] when he was hospitalized for health issues associated with a 12-day hunger strike.
Enkhbayar lost the presidential election [JURIST report] in 2009 when Mongolia Democratic Party [party website, in Mongolian] candidate Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj [Taipei Times profile] defeated him in the country’s general election. Educated in the US, Elbegborj ran on a platform of fighting corruption and redistributing profits from the country’s mining operations to Mongolian residents. Enkhbayar’s Communist Party had originally refuted claims that Elbegdorj had won the election, but later accepted the results [BBC report]. In 2008, Enkhbayar declared a state of emergency [JURIST report] following protests against the results of parliamentary elections in the country. At least five people were killed and more than 700 people were detained as a result of the protests. The Democratic Party had called for new elections [Reuters report] because of alleged fraud, but Enkhbayar has said that both parties have agreed to address the riots under established law [Xinhua report].