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Kyrgyz Oppositionist Alleges Official Smear Campaign

Tekebaev emerged from a September frame-up alleging official wrongdoing (AKI press) January 9, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Kyrgyz opposition leader Omurbek Tekebaev suggested today that authorities are behind efforts to damage his reputation, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Tekebaev, a leader in the For Reforms movement, showed journalists a video of people in southern Kyrgyzstan throwing tomatoes and eggs at him and demanding that he resign during a January 6 speech.

Tekebaev said he had information that the hecklers were brought in to disrupt his meetings with people.

"During the course of the last 17 years [the authorities] have been constantly trying to discredit me, especially during the last two years," Tekebaev said.

Tekebaev's comments could be related to reports that another opposition leader, Temir Sariev, was detained recently at Bishkek International Airport when $100,000 of undeclared cash was found in his luggage as he prepared to board a flight to Istanbul.

Tekebaev has charged that he was the object of a frame-up by "authorities" in September, when Polish police held him after discovering an illegal drug in his suitcase before a Warsaw court ordered his release.

Domestic inquiries into the incident resulted in senior dismissals after investigators concluded the drugs had been planted.

Tekebaev has insisted he was framed by the National Security Service (SNB) with the possible consent of high-ranking state officials.

SNB Chairman Busurmankul Tabaldiev resigned over the scandal, while denying any wrongdoing. Tabaldiev's first deputy, President Kurmanbek Bakiev's brother Janysh, was also removed from office; he, too, denied any impropriety.