Protests erupt after Kyrgyzstan arrests opposition leader

Supporters of detained opposition politician Omurbek Tekebayev, the leader of the Ata Meken (Fatherland) party, hold a rally in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on Sunday. (REUTERS/Vladimir Pirogov)
Updated 26 February 2017
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Protests erupt after Kyrgyzstan arrests opposition leader

MOSCOW: Kyrgyzstan has detained a prominent opposition leader on charges of fraud and corruption, claims that his supporters say are politically motivated.
A press representative of the State Committee for National Security, or GKNB, said that Omurbek Tekebayev is alleged to have received a $1 million bribe from a Russian businessman when he was serving as deputy prime minister in 2010 for the Central Asian nation.
Tekebayev, the leader of Kyrgyzstan’s Ata-Meken party, has vigorously denied the charges.
Supporters are holding demonstrations to protest the arrest, which occurred shortly after Tekebayev arrived in Bishkek airport early Sunday on a flight from Vienna.
Kyrgyzstan has opened a string of criminal cases against opposition figures in recent months that critics allege are politically motivated. Presidential elections in the landlocked country are scheduled for November.


Bangladesh arrests Islamist extremist over deadly cafe attack

Updated 5 min 42 sec ago
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Bangladesh arrests Islamist extremist over deadly cafe attack

  • Mufti Mahmud Khan, a spokesman for the elite Rapid Action Battalion, says the suspect supplied money and weapons for a local banned Islamist militant group
  • The arrested is one of the key “decision-makers” in the homegrown militia blamed for the attack

DHAKA: Bangladesh has arrested a suspected Islamist extremist who supplied weapons and explosives for a 2016 siege that killed 22 hostages, a top police official said Sunday.
Eighteen foreigners were among those shot and hacked to death in the 10-hour standoff at the Holey Artisan Bakery, an upmarket cafe in Dhaka, before military commandos stormed the building and freed some two dozen other people.
Mamunur Rashid was a key “decision-maker” in Jamayetul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), a banned homegrown Islamist militant outfit blamed for the attack.
The 30-year-old was arrested while traveling on a bus outside the capital Dhaka, said Mufti Mahmud Khan, a spokesman for the elite Rapid Action Battalion.
Rashid “supplied money, arms, ammunition and explosives for the attack,” Khan told reporters.
“He hid in a neighboring country and tried to reorganize the group. They were also planning to rescue their accomplices from custody.”
A former computer operator and Islamic seminary student, Rashid also provided logistical support to Islamists involved in several deadly attacks on religious minorities in the country’s north, Khan said.
A court in Dhaka last month put eight militants on trial over the cafe attack.
Khan said Rashid was one of the two men charged in absentia, while the other six were already in custody.
The Holey Artisan Bakery siege fueled fears over violent Islamist groups in the Muslim-majority nation of 165 million people.
The government also launched a nationwide crackdown against extremists immediately after the attack, killing nearly 100 alleged extremists in gunfights including several top JMB leaders.
The attack marked a violent escalation from a spate of high-profile murders in the country since 2013, with extremists targeting Bangladeshi atheist writers, rights activists, gays, foreigners and religious minorities.
Bangladesh last week banned the release of a film based on the cafe attack, saying it would tarnish the country’s image.