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Kyrgyz Parliament Member Shot Dead In Bishkek

Surabaldiev (left) following the shooting Bishkek, 10 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A Kyrgyz parliamentary deputy was shot dead in Bishkek today.

Police confirmed Zhirgalbek Surabaldiev was killed in the center of the Kyrgyz capital but gave no more details.

Surabaldiev's alleged connection to criminal groups was raised recently in parliament, which was due to hold an emergency session later today to discuss the killing.

"There might be different versions [of the killing of Surabaldiev], starting from a dispute over property distribution and ending with politics," parliamentarian Kubatbek Baibolov told RFE/RL today in Bishkek. "It is very hard to come to one conclusion so far. It has a negative impact on the image of the [Kyrgyz] parliament. It is getting dangerous. There were two attacks against deputies within the [last] month. This issue, of course, will be discussed [by parliament]."

Surabaldiev was allegedly one of the organizers of pro-government rallies in March, meant to counter protests calling for the resignation of President Askar Akaev.

Akaev was chased from office on 24 March as a result of a mass protests.