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Kazakh Report: April 3, 2002


3 April 2002

FIRST REACTIONS IN PARLIAMENT TO LATEST EVENTS IN KAZAKHSTAN
Parliament deputy Sherkhan Murtaza raised the latest developments during a 3 April parliament session (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 2 and 3 April 2002). He called founders of the opposition movement Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK) "those who stealing nation's money" and said that they should be brought to justice. He also said that Ghalymzhan Zhakiyanov's sheltering in a foreign embassy could be used as evidence of his guilt. Murtaza said that when the opposition asks foreign counties, for instance the United States, to pay attention to state of democracy in Kazakhstan, they are "betraying their country."

Tolen Toktasynov, who is a member of DVK asked Murtaza why he never asked about millions of dollars at Swiss banks, but did not refer directly to the Kazakhgate scandal which implicates .President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Toktasynov read a statement signed by himself and deputies Serikbolsyn Abdildin, Boris Sorokin, Vladislav Kozyrev, Zauresh Battalova demanding the immediate release of former Energy, Industry and Trade Minister Mukhtar Ablyazov, who was arrested on corruption charges last week, (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 28 March 2002) an end to the persecution of following Galymzhan Zhakiyanov, holding joint session of the Parliament with participation of President Nazarbayev, to be broadcasting live by all Kazakhstan's TV channels in the country, and total freedom for all opposition mass media.

After the Parliament session some deputies held a press briefing to express their views on the latest events and to protest reprsials against those mass media that tried to cover them.

MASS GATHERINGS IN FRONT OF FRENCH EMBASSY IN ALMATY CONTINUE
Mass gatherings in front of the French Embassy in Almaty continued on 3 April. The ATTAN movement led by Amantay Asylbekov and the workers movement led by Boris Godunov demanded Zhakiyanov's arrest.

Another group of members of DVK, the Communist Party and the Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan gathered to show support for Zhakiyanov. Other movements and parties held a press conference in Almaty on 3 April at which they expressed support for DVK and voiced concern about the most recent events.

TAN-TV COMPANY HELD PRESS CONFERENCE
TANG-TV Company held a press conference in Almaty on 3 April to inform about an incident the previous day in which company's main cameraman was beaten up. On 29 March the company's transmission cables were destroyed and TAN-TV went off the air just one day before the mass protest action which TAN-TV had promised to broadcast live. A TAN-TV journalist told RFE/RL on 3 April that the company's employees face harassment from police and that journalists are finding it increasingly difficult to cover events at the French Embassy.

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