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Kyrgyz Opposition Leader Tekebaev Goes On Trial On Corruption Charges

  • RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service

BISHKEK -- The leader of Kyrgyzstan's opposition Ata-Meken (Fatherland) party, Omurbek Tekebaev, has gone on trial on corruption charges he says are politically motivated.

The Birinchi Mai District Court in Bishkek began the trial of Tekebaev and former Emergencies Minister Duishonkul Chotonov on June 5.

The two were charged with receiving a $1 million bribe from a Russian businessman in 2010, when Tekebaev was deputy prime minister.

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

At the June 5 hearing, Tekebaev and his lawyers asked the judge to give them additional time to get acquainted with all materials in the case. The judge satisfied the request and adjourned the trial until June 8.

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.

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

The 58-year-old Tekebaev was once an ally of President Almazbek Atambaev.

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