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Prominent Opposition Leader Detained In Kyrgyzstan

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz police detained a prominent opposition leader, accusing him and his supporters of trying to organize an illegal rally, RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service reports.

Omurbek Tekebaev, head of the opposition Ata Meken (Fatherland) party, was detained in the northern Talas region, where his party had been due to hold a conference.

A spokesman for the Kyrgyz Interior Ministry confirmed Tekebaev's arrest. He is now free on bail.

He is also being accused of violating weapons laws after a hunting rifle was found in his car. Tekebaev says he has a license for the gun.

Tekebaev, a former parliament speaker, has long been at odds with Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev. He has sharpened his criticism of the authorities over the past months and used difficult economic times to unite the opposition.

With Reuters