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Kyrgyz Authorities Detain Defiant Local Leader

(RFE/RL) BISHKEK, May 23, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Law-enforcement agencies in Kyrgyzstan say they have detained a controversial community leader for questioning in several criminal cases, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

RFE/RL quotes a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry as saying Nurlan Motuev was arraigned today in Bishkek. No further details were immediately available.

Motuev seized control of the Kara-Keche coal mine in Naryn Province following the unrest in March 2005 that saw the ouster of then President Askar Akaev. Motuev has been defying government attempts to evict him since then.

Kyrgyz media at the time interpreted the seizure of the mine as a sign of the new government's inability to control the situation in the country.

On at least one occasion in October, Motuev was seen at an antigovernment protest alongside reputed crime boss Ryspek Akmatbaev, a would-be parliamentarian who was slain on May 10 near Bishkek.

(with additional reporting by