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Kazakhstan: Opposition Leader Charged With Tax Evasion

Almaty, 14 January 2003 (RFE/RL) -- New criminal charges have been leveled against Kazakh opposition leader Amirzhan Qosanov, who has been ordered not to leave Almaty. Qosanov, the chairman of the Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan executive committee, said on 8 January that police had questioned him about alleged tax evasion at his nonprofit organization, the Center for Support of Democratic Reforms. Qosanov stressed that the center is noncommercial and has no business dealings.

Qosanov's political party today reported that charges of falsifying documents were brought against Qosanov yesterday, in addition to earlier tax charges.

The new charges and the travel ban came shortly before Qosanov was set to visit the United States and several European countries to discuss the political situation and human rights in Kazakhstan.

Another Kazakh opposition figure, journalist Sergei Duvanov, was also arrested on criminal charges shortly before planning to travel to the West.