Kyrgyz Supreme Court Upholds Pretrial Detention For Kazakh Activist

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court has upheld pretrial detention for Kazakh opposition activist Muratbek Tunghyshbaev.

Kyrgyz civil right activist Adil Turdukulov told RFE/RL that the court issued the ruling on June 13.

Tunghyshbaev was arrested in Bishkek in May at the request of authorities in Kazakhstan who claim that the activist financially supported and took part in the activities of an extremist group.

Tunghyshbaev denies the accusations, saying that Kazakh authorities are targeting him over videos he posted on YouTube about problems faced by activists and supporters of the opposition Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK) movement.

The DVK was established by Mukhtar Ablyazov, a fugitive critic of President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

A court in Kazakhstan banned the movement in March, branding it an extremist organization.

The Kyrgyz Prosecutor-General's Office said on May 24 that Tunghyshbaev must be extradited to Kazakhstan, and a Bishkek court is scheduled to hold a hearing on that decision on June 19.

Kyrgyzstan's migration service said on June 5 that Tunghyshbaev had officially asked for political asylum in Kyrgyzstan.

Kyrgyz Ombudsman Kubat Otorbaev and rights groups have urged Kyrgyz authorities not to extradite Tunghyshbaev, saying he may face political persecution in Kazakhstan.