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Kyrgyz Court Release Former Official As Trial Begins

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan’s Balykchi City Court has released former Deputy Mayor Taalaybek Mederkulov from jail, but ruled that he will remain under house arrest as his trial begins on April 20, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Mederkulov is accused of financial misdeeds while serving as Balykchi's deputy mayor. His lawyers told RFE/RL that the charges against him are politically motivated.

Mederkulov's lawyers say the authorities are trying to put pressure on his brother, former Foreign Minister Alikbek Jekshenkulov, a leading member of the opposition For Justice movement, by prosecuting Mederkulov.

Jekshenkulov is accused of involvement in the murder of a Turkish businessman and has been held in a Bishkek detention center since March 7. He denies the charges.