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Kyrgyz Security Chief Issues Warning As Protests Persist


Omurbek Tekebaev was detained at the airport upon arrival from Turkey early on February 26.

BISHKEK -- A senior Kyrgyz security official has called on lawmakers not to "politicize" the arrest of opposition party leader Omurbek Tekebaev, while supporters demanded the lawmaker's release in a fourth day of protests.

Speaking at a parliament session on March 1, State Committee for National Security (UKMK) chief Abdil Segizbaev warned legislators they should not "impose any pressure on the ongoing investigations."

He said that Tekebaev, the leader of the opposition Ata-Meken (Fatherland) party, is suspected of bribe taking and fraud.

Meanwhile, hundreds of party members and other supporters rallied in downtown Bishkek, continuing protests that began after Tekebaev was detained at the airport upon arrival from Turkey early on February 26.

Former President Roza Otunbaeva called Tekebaev's arrest "unjust and politically motivated."

President Almazbek Atambaev has defended Tekebaev's arrest, saying on February 28 that it was not politically motivated.

On February 27, a court ordered Tekebaev held in pretrial custody until April 25.

He is the third member of Ata-Meken to be detained by the authorities for questioning in recent weeks.

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