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Jailed Kyrgyz Opposition Leader Ends Hunger Strike Due To Worsening Health


Kyrgyz oppositionist Jenish Moldokmatov (file photo)

BISHKEK -- The jailed leader of the Kyrgyz opposition party Turan, Jenish Moldokmatov, has reportedly ended his hunger strike at the urging of allies after his health had deteriorated.

An aide and party colleague, Erlan Bekchoro, told RFE/RL that Moldokmatov began to accept food on August 5 after party members, supporters, and representatives of the national ombudsman's office urged him to do so.

Moldokmatov had been taken to a Bishkek hospital 10 days after launching the fast when he was informed on July 26 of an additional charge being levied against him of organizing mass disorder.

He is an outspoken critic of President Sadyr Japarov.

Moldokmatov was arrested in May for the alleged seizure of buildings during anti-government rallies against the official results of parliamentary elections in October.

Moldokmatov has rejected the charge, calling it politically motivated.

He ran for a parliamentary seat in the October vote and participated along with thousands of other Kyrgyz in street protests that followed the official tallies.

The rallies eventually led to the resignations of the government and then-President Sooronbai Jeenbekov.

Japarov was among several prominent politicians freed from prison by protesters during the postelection unrest.

He had been serving a 10-year prison sentence for hostage taking during a protest against a mining operation in northeast Kyrgyzstan in October 2013. Japarov maintains his conviction was politically motivated.

Japarov easily won the January presidential election.

Moldokmatov's arrest on May 6 came three days after Japarov signed into law constitutional amendments approved by a nationwide referendum in April that has been criticized by his opponents as a move to concentrate power.

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