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Kyrgyz Politician Detained On Drug Charges

Kyrgyz authorities say they have detained a political party leader who is suspected of trafficking illegal drugs.

An Interior Ministry spokesman said on October 22 that Akylbek Atabaev, the leader of the Akyikat (Justice) Party and the editor in chief of the "Chyiyr" publication, has been detained with more than 20 kilograms of illegal drugs, including heroin and opium.

The spokesman said police suspect Atabaev, 48, has been involved in trafficking drugs from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to Kazakhstan and Russia.

Central Asian countries have long been used by drug traffickers as a key transit route between Afghanistan, the world's largest opium producer, and Europe.

Based on reporting by TASS and RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service