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Kyrgyz Opposition Leader Arrested As Murder Suspect

Alikbek Jekshenkulov

Alikbek Jekshenkulov

BISHKEK -- Alikbek Jekshenkulov, the leader of the Kyrgyz opposition For Justice movement and a former foreign minister, has been arrested as a suspect in a murder, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Interior Ministry press secretary Bakyt Seyitov said a Turkish citizen was killed in the city of Talas in 2007 by a bullet that police say was shot from Jekshenkulov's gun.

Some of Jekshenkulov's relatives have also recently been charged with various crimes, which Jekshenkulov calls a government attempt to damage his reputation.

Kyrgyz Ombudsman Tursunbek Akun told RFE/RL that he believes Jekshenkulov's arrest is politically motivated. Akun added that the arrest has destroyed all of his attempts to establish a constructive dialogue between the government and the opposition.

Jekshenkulov's son, Bekul, released a statement to the press saying that the charges are a result of his father's opposition activities.

Jekshenkulov was previously charged with abuse of power for actions alleged to have taken place when he was foreign minister from 2005-2007.