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Kyrgyz Opposition Party Reopens Offices After Police Raid

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev

The Naryn regional office of Kyrgyzstan's Fatherland (Ata-Meken) opposition party is back in business following a raid by local police. Police and local security officers seized computers and closed the party's office in yesterday's operation.

While the office has reopened, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports that the party is having to conduct its affairs without its computers, which have not yet been returned.

The Kyrgyz opposition says the raid is part of a general persecution of opposition activities and runs counter to freedom of speech in the country.

Nurlan Temirbayev, the head of the Naryn regional police department, told RFE/RL that police found almost 150 leaflets in Ata-Meken's Naryn office that belonged to another opposition bloc called the Revolutionary Committee. Police say they are investigating where the leaflets were printed.

The raid follows a press conference in Bishkek on September 16 in which the leader of the Revolutionary Committee, former Prosecutor-General Azimbek Beknazarov, criticized President Kurmanbek Bakiev for his weak performance and undemocratic moves and called for his removal by legal means. The seized leaflets apparently explained these political aims and demands.

Almambet Shykmambetov, a coordinator for the Fatherland party for the Naryn region, told Radio Azattyk today that the raid was illegal and that the party will lodge a court complaint.

(by Tyntchtykbek Tchoroev, director of RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service)

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