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Blast At Kyrgyz Opposition Leader's Flat Investigated

Otunbaeva has harshly criticized the country's 27 February elections (file photo) 3 March 2005 -- Kyrgyz investigators believe it was a hand grenade that detonated on the balcony of a prominent Kyrgyz opposition leader's flat in Bishkek today.

Roza Otunbaeva told a media rights conference (National Forum on Protecting Mass Media in Kyrgyzstan) in the capital that her apartment is under reconstruction and that no one was inside at the time of the blast.

Otunbaeva said she thinks the blast, which damaged her flat and other flats in the building, represents a "message" from Kyrgyz authorities.

"I think that this has the 'handwriting,' the attitude of the government toward the opposition," Otunbaeva said. Not only the press but democracy itself is in danger in this country. But we will not give it up."

Otunbaeva, an opposition leader and former foreign minister, is a leading critic of the country's 27 February parliamentary elections, which authorities blocked her from running in.

Presidential Press Secretary Abdil Segizbayev denied government responsibility for the blast, and said police are investigating the incident.

(RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service/Reuters/AKIpress)

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