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Supporters Of Former Kyrgyz Speaker On Hunger Strike

Akmatbek Keldibekov served as parliament speaker in 2010-11.
OSH, Kyrgyzstan -- Fifteen women in Kyrgyzstan's southern city of Osh have been on hunger strike since December 11 demanding the release of former parliament speaker Akmatbek Keldibekov from detention.

The women are holding their protest in three yurts set up in Osh's central square.

Earlier this month, thousands of Keldibekov's supporters stormed the local administration building in Osh in an attempt to take it over.

Keldibekov, a native of the Osh region, was arrested last month amid an investigation into alleged abuse of office and financial misdeeds while running the State Social Fund and Tax Service several years ago.

Keldibekov, a member of the opposition Ata-Jurt (Fatherland) party, served as parliament speaker in 2010-11.

The leader of Ata-Jurt, Kamchybek Tashiev, has described Keldibekov's arrest as "political oppression."