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Kyrgyzstan Detains Opposition Lawmaker Amid Coup Allegations


Opposition Kazakh deputy Kanatbek Isaev (file photo)

The Kyrgyz state security service has arrested opposition lawmaker Kanatbek Isaev on accusations of planning rioting before and after the country's upcoming presidential election.

The GKNB security service announced on September 30 that Isaev had been arrested for conspiring with criminal groups to organize mass disturbances and "a violent seizure of power" around the October 15 election.

"Certain members" of organized crime groups were also detained, according to the GKNB statement, although no other details were provided.

The service said Isaev was planning a coup in the event that opposition candidate and former Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov loses the election.

The security service alleged that Isaev had selected, paid, and prepared "young people, including members of criminal groups" to use them for illegal actions during and after the presidential election of the Kyrgyz Republic using as a pretext the falsification of the results of the voting," according to the statement.

The statement also charged that Isaev had paid "a large sum of money" to organized-crime groups to carry out the alleged plot.

The Prosecutor-General's Office announced the opening of the criminal case against Isaev earlier in the day.

In May and in July, separate criminal cases were opened against Isaev on allegations of corruption during his time as mayor of Tokmak.

In June, Isaev's Kyrgyzstan party nominated him as its candidate for the presidential election.

However, election officials rejected more than 10,000 of the 37,000 signatures of support that he submitted, putting him below the required 35,000.

There are 12 candidates vying for the presidency, with Babanov and former Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov, of the pro-presidential Social-Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan, seen as the main contenders.

Under the country's constitution, a president can only serve one six-year term, so incumbent President Almazbek Atambaev is ineligible.

Earlier on September 30, up to 1,000 people demonstrated in Bishkek calling for "fair and clean elections."

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