BISHKEK — A Kyrgyz opposition politician and an outspoken critic of President Sadyr Japarov has been arrested on a charge of organizing “mass disorder” in October over anti-government rallies protesting the official results of parliamentary elections.
Jenish Moldokmatov’s lawyer, Kantemir Turdaliev, told RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service on May 10 that his client was arrested and sent to pretrial detention for two months over the weekend.
Turdaliev called the charge “absurd” and said the court’s May 8 ruling will be appealed.
During the court hearing over his arrest, Moldokmatov rejected the charge, calling it politically motivated, his lawyer said.
Moldokmatov was one of the candidates to the Kyrgyz parliament in October who, according to official results, lost the election.
He took part with thousands of others in the mass protests following the election in Bishkek. The rallies led to the government’s resignation and then-President Sooronbai Jeenbekov stepping down.
Current President Sadyr Japarov was among several prominent politicians freed from prison by protesters during the unrest. He had been serving a 10-year prison sentence for hostage-taking during a protest against a mining operation in northeast Kyrgyzstan in October 2013. He maintains the charges against him were politically motivated.
Japarov easily won the presidential election in January.
Moldokmatov’s arrest came three days after Japarov signed into law a bill on constitutional amendments approved by a nationwide referendum in April that has been criticized by his opponents as a move to concentrate more powers in his hands.