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Kyrgyz Parliament Speaker To Sue Media For Libel


Kyrgyz parliament speaker Akmatbek Keldibekov

Kyrgyz parliament speaker Akmatbek Keldibekov

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz parliament speaker Akmatbek Keldibekov is planning to sue media outlets for libel for spreading "materials damaging to the speaker's reputation," RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Asel Alieva, Keldibekov's spokeswoman, told RFE/RL on July 28 that she is preparing documents for the speaker to file criminal cases. She did not specify which media outlets Keldibekov planned to sue.

Alieva said Keldibekov is currently on vacation in Turkey.

But some newspapers in Kyrgyzstan reported this week that Keldibekov may have travelled to the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) to "assist Kyrgyz criminal kingpins recently arrested in Abu Dhabi."

Kyrgyz authorities announced last week that alleged Kyrgyz criminal kingpin Kamchy Kolbaev and two of his associates had been detained in the U.A.E..

Kolbaev, who last month was added by U.S. President Barack Obama to a list of foreign individuals subject to U.S. sanctions, is wanted in Kyrgyzstan for organized and transnational criminal activities.

Alieva told RFE/RL that the smear campaign against Keldibekov is politically motivated.

"Even though Keldibekov does not plan to take part in the presidential election scheduled for October 30, some candidates who know that he will not support them in the election are trying to discredit him," she said.

Deputy Interior Minister Melis Turganbaev told RFE/RL last month that Kolbaev has ties to a brother of former President Kurmanbek Bakiev, who was ousted in April 2010.

He did not specify which of Bakiev's five brothers he meant.

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