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Supporters Of Jailed Ex-Speaker Rally In Kyrgyzstan's South

ALAI, Kyrgyzstan -- Hundreds of supporters of former Kyrgyz parliament speaker Akmatbek Keldibekov have rallied in the southern province of Osh to demand his release.

RFE/RL's correspondents report that Keldibekov’s supporters blocked the Alai-Osh highway on April 9, and burned one vehicle in front of the local government building in Alai district.

Local authorities are holding talks with the protesters, who say Keldibekov must be released from pre-trial detention because his health has deteriorated.

Keldibekov was arrested in November and charged with abuse of office and financial misdeeds while running the State Social Fund and Tax Service several years ago.

Keldibekov, a member of the opposition Ata-Jurt (Fatherland) party, also served as parliament speaker between 2010 and 2011.

Last month, hundreds of his supporters rallied in the capital, Bishkek, demanding his release.

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