BISHKEK -- Activists in four Kyrgyz villages are urging the government to stop "the persecution of former Foreign Minister Alikbek Jekshenkulov," RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.
Jekshenkulov, a native of the northern Naryn region where the villages are located, has been formally accused of financial mismanagement when he was in office.
The protesters told RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service that they would create the Committee to Protect Jekshenkulov's Rights and organize mass protests unless the government ends its "oppressive measures" against him.
The activists say that some 870 people have signed the petition.
Jekshenkulov, who was foreign minister from 2005-2007, is currently a coordinator of the opposition For Justice movement.