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Supporters Of Jailed Kyrgyz Party Leader Seek OSCE's Help

Kyrgyz opposition leader Urmat Baryktabasov

Kyrgyz opposition leader Urmat Baryktabasov

BISHKEK -- Supporters of a Kyrgyz opposition leader jailed on suspicion of trying to overthrow the government have called on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to help secure his release, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Some 15 supporters of Urmat Baryktabasov, the head of the nationalist Meken Tuu (Flag of the Homeland) party, picketed the OSCE office in Bishkek today.

Valery Merezha, a representative of the OSCE's office in Bishkek, accepted a petition from the protesters. The picketers told RFE/RL they sent a similar petition to the United Nations.

Baryktabasov was arrested on August 5 and charged with illegally attempting to seize power. Investigators say Baryktabasov and his associates were illegally carrying weapons when they were arrested.

The following day, some 2,000 supporters of Baryktabasov organized a demonstration in Bishkek's central square to demand that President Roza Otunbaeva appoint him prime minister.

Baryktabasov tried to register as a presidential candidate in 2005, but the Central Election Commission refused to register him, saying he was a Kazakh citizen.

Earlier, in June 2005, Baryktabasov was also charged with an illegal attempt to seize power. He was wanted by officials after that but did not resurface until last year.

Baryktabasov denies any wrongdoing and says his arrest is politically motivated.

Read more in Kyrgyz here