Kyrgyz court orders opposition leader kept in custody

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (AP) " A court in Kyrgyzstan has ordered a prominent opposition leader to be kept in custody on fraud and corruption charges that his supporters see as politically driven.

The State Committee for National Security, or GKNB, said in a statement that the court ruled Monday Omurbek Tekebayev should stay in jail for two months pending an official probe.

About 200 of Tekebayev's supporters rallied outside the court building to demand his release.

Tekebayev, the leader of the Ata-Meken party, was arrested early Sunday after returning from Vienna. The GKNB said the charges are related to a $1 million bribe he allegedly received from a Russian businessman while serving as deputy prime minister.

Critics of the government see Tekebayev's arrest as part of efforts to muzzle dissent ahead of November's presidential elections.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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