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Kyrgyzstan: Opposition Leader Arrested Over Claimed Corruption

Ata-Meken leader Omurbek Tekebayev at a march to commemorate the first anniversary of the April 7, 2010, revolution. (Photo: David Trilling)

Authorities in Kyrgyzstan are threatening to spark a political crisis with their shock arrest of a prominent opposition leader. 

Ata-Meken party leader Omurbek Tekebayev was held by police as soon as he flew into the capital, Bishkek, in the early hours of February 26. Dozens of his supporters demonstrated outside Manas airport and some were later detained.

Large numbers of police with riot gear were deployed to the terminal to contain any possible outbtreaks of protest. As well as Tekebayev supporters, police at one stage also detained a reporter with RFE/RL's Kyrgyz service, Ulanbek Egizbaev, and a member of parliament with Ata-Meken, Kanybek Imanaliyev.

The detention of the Ata-Meken leader followed an announcment by the General Prosecutor’s Office on February 25 that it was initiating a criminal investigation into the politician on suspicion of corruption and fraud.

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Kyrgyzstan: Opposition Leader Arrested Over Claimed Corruption

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