Europe

Protests erupt after Kyrgyzstan arrests opposition leader

  • FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2010, file photo, Kyrgyzstan's former Parliament Speaker Omurbek Tekebayev, the leader of Ata-Meken party, listens to a question during his news conference in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan has detained a prominent opposition leader on charges of fraud and corruption, claims that his supporters say are politically motivated. Supporters are holding demonstrations to protest the arrest, which occurred shortly after Tekebayev arrived in Bishkek airport early Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, on a flight from Vienna. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

    FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2010, file photo, Kyrgyzstan's former Parliament Speaker Omurbek Tekebayev, the leader of Ata-Meken party, listens to a question during his news conference in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyzstan has detained a prominent opposition leader on charges of fraud and corruption, claims that his supporters say are politically motivated. Supporters are holding demonstrations to protest the arrest, which occurred shortly after Tekebayev arrived in Bishkek airport early Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, on a flight from Vienna. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010, file photo, Kyrgyzstan's opposition Ata-Meken party leader Omurbek Tekebayev, a former speaker of the Kyrgyzstan parliament, casts his ballot at a polling station in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan has detained a prominent opposition leader on charges of fraud and corruption, claims that his supporters say are politically motivated. Supporters are holding demonstrations to protest the arrest, which occurred shortly after Tekebayev arrived in Bishkek airport early Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, on a flight from Vienna. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)

    FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 10, 2010, file photo, Kyrgyzstan's opposition Ata-Meken party leader Omurbek Tekebayev, a former speaker of the Kyrgyzstan parliament, casts his ballot at a polling station in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan has detained a prominent opposition leader on charges of fraud and corruption, claims that his supporters say are politically motivated. Supporters are holding demonstrations to protest the arrest, which occurred shortly after Tekebayev arrived in Bishkek airport early Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, on a flight from Vienna. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Kyrgyzstan's former President Roza Otunbayeva attends a rally in support of Omurbek Tekebayev, who was arrested early Sunday morning after arriving at the Central Asian country's main airport, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017. Hundreds of people protested Sunday in Kyrgyzstan after authorities detained a prominent opposition leader on fraud and corruption charges that his supporters say are politically motivated. (AP Photo/Vladimir Voronin)

    Kyrgyzstan's former President Roza Otunbayeva attends a rally in support of Omurbek Tekebayev, who was arrested early Sunday morning after arriving at the Central Asian country's main airport, in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017. Hundreds of people protested Sunday in Kyrgyzstan after authorities detained a prominent opposition leader on fraud and corruption charges that his supporters say are politically motivated. (AP Photo/Vladimir Voronin)  (The Associated Press)

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.