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Kazakh Report: April 18, 2002


18 April 2002

LEADERS OF KAZAKHSTAN'S DEMOCRATIC CHOICE HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE
RFE/RL correspondents report from Almaty that the leadership of the Democratic Choice for Kazakhstan movement held a press conference at the National Press Club today. The main issue discussed at the press conference was about the situation around movement leaders Mukhtar Abliyazov and Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov. Abliyazov, formerly Kazakh minister of trade and economy, is in jail in Almaty. He is officially accused of financial mismanagement. Former Pavlodar Oblast Governor Zhaqiyanov is under house arrest in Pavlodar. He faces similar charges. Both claim that all accusations against them are politically motivated. Abliyazov's lawyer, Ludmilla Kolyvanova, said at the press conference that Almaty's Almaly District Court had decided on her request to release Abliyazov until trial.

EURASIAN MEDIA FORUM TO BE HELD IN ALMATY ON 25-27APRIL
At a press conference in Almaty today, coordinators of the Eurasian Media Forum told journalists that the forum will be held in Almaty on 25-27 April. International organizations, local media-holdings, institutions, and leading media outlets are reportedly organizing the event. International news agencies are expected to cover the forum as well. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev and visiting Iranian President Mohammad Khatami will take part in the opening ceremony of the forum.

NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS OF SEMIPALATINSK ESTABLISH DEMOCRACY HOUSE
RFE/RL correspondents report that NGOs in Semipalatinsk, East Kazakhstan Oblast, established the Democracy House in the city this week. According to the leader of Semipalatinsk's NGO association, Maira Abenova, the idea to establish such a house was caused by the "information blockade" in the region. She said that there were no alternative source of information for the area's citizens expect state-run media outlets. In the Democracy House, people will be able to share opinions and information through sessions, roundtable discussions, and interviews, Abenova told RFE/RL.

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