Kyrgyz Lawmaker Held In Kazakhstan Has Kazakh Citizenship

BISHKEK -- A Kyrgyz lawmaker who was detained in Kazakhstan on suspicion of smuggling last week has Kazakh citizenship, the Kyrgyz Interior Ministry says.

Interior Ministry spokesman Murat Azymbakiev told RFE/RL on February 22 that Kazakh officials provided Bishkek with documents confirming that Damirbek Asylbek-uulu is a holder of two passports, Kyrgyz and Kazakh.

Kyrgyz law does not allow individuals with dual citizenship to be lawmakers.

Asylbek-uulu, a lawmaker from a party called Kyrgyzstan, was detained during a special operation in Kazakhstan along with 35 suspects, including two other Kyrgyz nationals.

His colleagues in the Kyrgyz parliament have contended Asylbek-uulu has nothing to do with the illegal activities he has been charged with.