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Kyrgyz Police Detain Editor Of Independent Newspaper

Babyrbek Jeenbekov
The editor of an independent newspaper in Kyrgyzstan is being held by police.

Babyrbek Jeenbekov, editor in chief of the "Open Politics" (Achyk saiasat) newspaper, was detained in the capital, Bishkek, on Tuesday evening, according to RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service, known as Radio Azattyk.

Jeenbekov's lawyer, Ashyrbek Jorupbekov, tells RFE/RL that his client was apparently detained for not paying a fine connected to another newspaper, "Alibi."

This newspaper, which was also run by Jeenbekov, was closed in August after being fined by a Kyrgyz court for libel against a relative of President Kurmanbek Bakiev.

Jeenbekov and local human rights activists say the charges are politically motivated.

The country's main opposition political bloc, the For Justice movement, denounced Jeenbekov's arrest and urged all Kyrgyz to fight for freedom of the press and freedom of speech.

Meanwhile, Cholpon Orozobekova, editor in chief of "De Facto," another independent newspaper, says she has gone into hiding out of concerns for her safety.

Media rights activists says the cases against both "Alibi" and "De Facto" are politically motivated.

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