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Kyrgyz Official Arrested As Suspect In High-Profile Murder Case

Former Kyrgyz presidential aide Medet Sadyrkulov was found dead in March 2009.

Former Kyrgyz presidential aide Medet Sadyrkulov was found dead in March 2009.

BISHKEK/OSH -- A Kyrgyz Interior Ministry police general was arrested as a suspect in a high-profile murder case -- then released after his supporters picketed the mayor's office, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Rasulberdi Raiymberdiev, who is head of the Interethnic Concord Committee in Osh, was detained in the southern city on September 20 as a suspect in the 2009 killing of former presidential chief of staff Medet Sadyrkulov and taken to Bishkek for questioning.

Osh mayor's office spokesman Guljan Ajymatova told RFE/RL on September 21 that at least 100 protesters, mainly from Raiymberdiev's native village of Toloikon and some on horseback, picketed the mayor's office to demand his release.

The Prosecutor-General's Office decided to release Raiymberdiev on September 21, but warned him not to leave the country while the investigation into Sadyrkulov's murder continues.

Sadyrkulov, who served as presidential administration head under ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiev, and two of his associates were found dead in a burned-out car in March 2009, shortly after Sadyrkulov resigned to join the anti-Bakiev opposition.

Officials said the deaths were the result of a traffic accident. But Sadyrkulov's relatives challenged that finding, saying the bodies were in positions indicating that the victims were dead when the car caught fire.

The investigation into Sadyrkulov's death resumed in April 2010 after Bakiev fled the country in the wake of antigovernment demonstrations.

On September 16, Deputy Interior Minister Melis Turganbaev told journalists that four Kyrgyz citizens were arrested in neighboring Tajikistan as suspects in the murders.

He added that authorities intend to again seek Bakiev's extradition from Belarus, where he now lives in exile, for his alleged involvement in the killings. Belarus had previously rejected an extradition request from Kyrgyz officials.

On September 14, Interior Minister Zarylbek Rysaliev said 17 people have been detained in Kyrgyzstan as suspects in the murders.

Turganbaev told RFE/RL the following day that opposition United Kyrgyzstan party leader Adakhan Madumarov, former Prosecutor-General Elmurza Satybaldiev, and ex-Interior Minister Moldomusa Kongantiev will be interrogated in connection with Sadyrkulov's killing.

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