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Kyrgyz Opposition Leader Tekebaev's Trial Resumes In Bishkek


Omurbek Tekebaev (left) and Duishonkul Chotonov appear in court on June 5.

BISHKEK -- The trial of opposition Ata-Meken (Fatherland) party leader Omurbek Tekebaev, who says the bribe-taking charge against him is false and politically motivated, has resumed in Bishkek.

Judge Aibek Ernis-uulu did not allow journalists to use cameras at the trial as it resumed on June 8.

Several supporters of Tekebaev and his co-defendant, former Emergency Situations Minister Duishonkul Chotonov, staged a protest against the judge's decision in front of the court, blindfolding themselves with white fabric.

Tekebaev and Chotonov are charged with receiving a $1 million bribe from a Russian businessman in 2010, when Tekebaev was deputy prime minister.

Both deny any wrongdoing, saying the case against them is politically motivated.

Ata-Meken has alleged that the government launched the case in an effort to stifle dissent ahead of the October presidential election in the Central Asian country and keep Tekebaev off the ballot.

Tekebaev was arrested in late February. On March 5, Ata-Meken named him its candidate for the presidential election.

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