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Kyrgyz Supreme Court Upholds Detention Of Opposition Leader

Ata-Meken party leader Omurbek Tekebaev is running for president.

Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court has upheld the order for the detention of opposition party leader Omurbek Tekebaev, who has been in custody since his arrest in late February on suspicion of bribe taking and fraud.

Dozens of Tekebaev supporters demonstrated outside the Supreme Court building in Bishkek during the hearing on March 29, demanding his release.

On February 27, a Bishkek court ordered Tekebaev, the leader of the opposition Ata-Meken (Fatherland) party, held in pretrial custody until April 25.

His supporters say the investigation is politically motivated and aimed at preventing him from running for president in November.

On March 5, Ata-Meken named Tekebaev, a vocal critic of President Almazbek Atambaev, as its candidate in the presidential election.

The Kyrgyz Constitution bars Atambaev from running for reelection, and opponents accuse him of seeking to maintain a hold on power through constitutional changes that were backed in a December referendum.

With reporting by