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Kazakh Report: April 10, 2002


10 April 2002

FORMER GOVERNOR OF PAVLODAR OBLAST TRANSFERRED FROM ALMATY TO PAVLODAR
Former Pavlodar Oblast governor Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov, a leading member of the opposition movement Democratic Choice for Kazakhstan (DVK), has been taken by force from his house arrest in Almaty to the town of Pavlodar in northern Kazakhstan.

Zhaqiyanov took refuge from 29 March to 3 April in the building of French embassy in Almaty trying to avoid arrest. He said the charges against him of abuse of power and financial malpractice are politically motivated. Under a special memorandum signed by Kazakh officials and senior representatives of the British, French and German Embassies in Almaty, Zhaqiyanov left the French Embassy on 3 April and moved to his apartment on Almaty's Gornaya Street. It was agreed that he would remain under house arrest till the end of the investigations into his case.

But on 10 April at 8:45 AM (Almaty time) a group of OMON soldiers entered Zhaqiyanov's apartment without any preliminary warning and asked him to accompany them to Almaty Police department for, as they said, routine interrogations. His wife was not allowed to go with him and she had to travel to the Police Department separately. Zhaqiyanov was then told at the police station that he was to be transferred to Pavlodar City, North Kazakhstan. Police took him to Almaty airport put him on a special flight to Pavlodar.

Representatives of the British, German and French Embassies told journalists that they were not informed about Zhaqiyanov's transfer to Pavlodar, although under the terms of last week's memorandum they should have been.

Zauresh Battalova, who is a member of the Senate (the Upper House of the Kazakh parliament) told RFE/RL that Zhaqiyanov has no apartment in Pavlodar, but the memorandum signed by Kazakh officials guaranteed that he would be held under house arrest until the investigations is completed. "If Mr. Zhaqiyanov is put in jail, that will be against the memorandum," Battalova said. She also said that Zhaqiyanov's wife Qarylghash Zhaqiyanova and his lawyers have been allowed to travel to Pavlodar.

KAZAKH PARLIAMENT DEPUTIES CRITICIZE DVK AT MEETING WITH JOURNALISTS
Members of the Mazhilis (the Lower Chamber of the Kazakh Parliament) Tito Syzdyqov, Amangeldy Aytaly, Tatiyana Muschil, Sherkhan Murtaza and Erlan Nighmatullin held a press briefing in Astana on 10 April at which they criticized DVK for what they termed "attempts to undermine Kazakhstan's social stability." According to Sherkhan Murtaza, demands by DVK leaders to start electing regional governors are "inappropriate in the current situation in Kazakhstan." He said that it is too early to elect local governors and that such a system should be introduced in the country gradually, "step by step."

Murtaza also criticized DVK for its alleged reluctance to raise the issue of protecting the interests of the Kazakh nation.

PARLIAMENT AGAIN DEBATES PROBLEM OF WOMEN FROM BAIDIBEK REGION
The Mazhilis discussed on 10 April the overdue social allowances owed to women from Baidibek region in South Kazkahstan. A group of Mazhilis members who recently returned from Baidibek region reported at the session on the results of their trip there, but numerous Mazhilis deputies told RFE/RL that they were not satisfied with the group's conclusions. Deputy Amangeldy Aytaly said that the report contained no new information or proposals.

Women from Baidibek region have been holding protests for about two years now in an attempt to persuade the Kazakh authorities to pay off their overdue social allowances (se "RFE/RL Kazakh Report," 16 January, 21 April, and 6, 21 and 27 December 2001 and 9 January and 20 March 2002).

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