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Leader Of Kyrgyz Communists Transferred From Jail

Iskhak Masaliev

Iskhak Masaliev

BISHKEK -- The jailed leader of the Kyrgyz Communist Party was released from detention today and transferred to house arrest, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Iskhak Masaliev told journalists after he was released that his arrest was politically motivated. He said he will continue his political activities and plans to take part in parliamentary elections scheduled by the interim government for October.

Masaliev, 50, was arrested on May 14 after a telephone conversation was broadcast by media outlets in which he and other politicians discussed organizing mass protests in southern Kyrgyzstan.

He says the telephone conversation was edited and some parts were used by media outlets to distort the meaning of what he said.

Masaliev is officially charged with organizing mass disorder in the southern cities of Osh and Jalal-Abad on May 12-13 in which two people died and dozens were injured. An investigation is under way.

Masaliev calls the charges against him "absolutely groundless."