Kyrgyz opposition politician detained on corruption charges


BISHKEK -- A veteran opposition leader in Kyrgyzstan was arrested on corruption charges Sunday (February 26), sparking nationwide protests as political tensions mount ahead of presidential elections in November.

The State Committee for National Security (GKNB) said Omurbek Tekebayev, who leads the nominally socialist Ata-Meken party, was detained after landing at Bishkek's airport from Istanbul.

The opposition leader, an adversary of incumbent President Almazbek Atambayev, will be held for at least 48 hours in connection with an investigation into corruption at a key telecom company, the statement said.

About a thousand people gathered near the GKNB headquarters in Bishkek on Sunday, according to an AFP journalist, chanting "Freedom for Tekebayev".

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