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Kyrgyz Officials Announce Detention Of Alleged Coup Plotters Ahead Of Elections

Alleged Coup Plot Revealed Ahead Of Kyrgyz Elections
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Kyrgyzstan's State Committee for National Security (UKMK) has announced the arrest of 15 suspects in an alleged coup plot, just two days before elections in the country's fourth major vote in a little over a year.

The UKMK said the alleged plotters included lawmakers in the Jogorku Kenesh, the unicameral legislature, and former high-ranking officials but did not identify any suspects.

It said pretrial proceedings had already been instituted under articles of the Criminal Code relating to violent efforts to overturn the government.

The Prosecutor-General's Office has set up an interagency group to investigate the case.

Street protests have sparked government ousters three times in the past two decades, including after a vote last year that swept the current president, Sadyr Japarov, to power.

National parliamentary elections are scheduled for November 28 to repeat the October 2020 vote.

Japarov has since organized a presidential election and a concurrent referendum on changing the constitution to grant more power to the presidency.

A spokesman for the intelligence service, Kumushbek Shabdanov, said the suspects had recruited about 1,000 people and were preparing for a postelection riot.

Officials said mass riots were part of the plan and that a search turned up weapons, ammunition, and drugs.

RFE/RL has learned that Green Party candidate Beknazar Kupeshov is among those detained early on November 26.

One of the purported detainees named by local media, Nurbek Kalekeev, had recently become a vocal critic of the government on social media over an ongoing coal shortage.

In August, the Interior Ministry said it had tapped the phones of dozens of politicians and their relatives, civil society activists, and human rights activists earlier this year as part of an investigation into violence in October 2020.

The list of politicians and civil-society activists arrested and charged under the current administration with attempting to seize power through force includes former Interior Minister Kursan Asanov, whose trial began last month.

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