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Jailed Kyrgyz Opposition Politician's Case Files Stolen, Lawyer Says

Omurbek Tekebaev
Omurbek Tekebaev

BISHKEK -- Documents related to the criminal case against imprisoned Kyrgyz opposition leader Omurbek Tekebaev have been stolen from his lawyer's house in Bishkek, the lawyer says.

The accusation from attorney Kanat Khasanov came a day after a brother of a fellow leader of Tekebaev's Ata-Meken (Fatherland) party was shot dead.

Khasanov said that someone entered his home at about 4 a.m. on November 7, most likely through a kitchen window on the ground floor, while he and his family were asleep upstairs.

"When we heard that somebody was downstairs, we rushed down but the perpetrators fled the house," he said, adding: "They took only the file with documents related to Omurbek Tekebaev's case and my small souvenir pistol."

Interior Ministry spokeswoman Mira Abdyldaeva said police were looking into the situation but that an investigation has not yet been opened.

Tekebaev was convicted of bribery in August and sentenced to eight years in prison.

He denies guilt and supporters contend that the case was fabricated to prevent him from running in the Central Asian country's October 15 presidential election.

Outgoing President Almazbek Atambaev's preferred successor, former Prime Minister Sooronbek Jeenbekov, won the election. He is due to be inaugurated on November 24.

On November 6, masked assailants fatally shot a brother of Aida Salyanova, an Ata-Meken leader and former prosecutor-general, at his home in Bishkek.

The killing took place less than a month after a court convicted Salyanova of abuse of office and sentenced her to five years in prison but postponed her imprisonment until her 2-year-old daughter reaches age 14.

Salyanova has maintained her innocence, saying the case against her is politically motivated.

Authorities targeted Salyanova for investigation in March, days after Tekebaev was arrested.

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