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Kazakh Report: May 8, 2002


8 May 2002

FORMER PAVLODAR OBLAST GOVERNOR MARKS BIRTHDAY IN CUSTODY
Former Pavlodar Oblast governor Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov marked his 39th birthday in one of the barracks of the PavlodarSol Company, where he is being kept under "house arrest." Zhaqiyanov, who is one of the leaders of the opposition movement Kazakhstan's Democratic Choice (DVK), has been accused of financial mismanagement. He says his arrest and the charges he faces are politically motivated.

Over 100 supporters of Zhaqiyanov, including Tolen Toqtasynov and Serikbay Alibayev, who are deputies of the Mazhilis (the lower parliament chamber), gathered in front of the barracks where he is being detained to demonstrate their support. Toqtasynov and Zhaqiyanov's wife Qarlyghash were allowed to meet with him.

LEADER OF KAZAKH COMMUNISTS HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE, CRITICIZES PRESIDENT
Mazhilis deputy Serikbolsyn Abdildin, who heads the Communist Party of Kazakhstan, held a press conference in Almaty on 8 May at which he harshly criticized President Nursultan Nazarbayev's recent statement on the need to introduce new laws allowing the private ownership of land. Abdildin expressed his categorical opposition to that proposal, adding that the Communist Party of Kazakhstan has its own program of agricultural reforms and development which, according to Abdildin, will help to improve the situation in the agricultural sector without selling agricultural land.

Abdildin also expressed concern over the charges brought against Zhaqiyanov and another DVK leader, former Minister of Trade and Industry Mukhtar Abliyazov. Abliyazov is in detention in Astana's central jail and faces charges similar to those brought against Zhaqiyanov.

IRBIS TV-CHANNEL MAY NOT RESUME ITS OPERATIONS NEXT WEEK
May 19 is the day when Pavlodar-based IRBIS TV-channel could theoretically resume its operations after a three-month-long suspension imposed by a special ruling of the Pavlodar City Court in February. But Asqar Samsekov of IRBIS TV told RFE/RL that it is very likely that his channel will not be able to resume its operations next week. He said that the Pavlodar Oblast Court has issued another ruling according to which IRBIS TV-channel may no longer use its antenna due to "technical problems." But according to Samsekov, several paging companies and cellular phone companies which share the antenna with IRBIS may continue to use it. He said that the court's decisions were politically motivated.

NATIONAL SECURITY COMMITTEE SUMS UP ANTI-DRUGS OPERATION
The press service of Kazakhstan's National Security Committee has announced the results of a special operation against illegal drugs trafficking held this week. It claimed that 2.9 kilograms of pure heroin were confiscated from two suspicious persons in Almaty, one of whom is a Russian citizen. Investigations are under way. In Shymkent, South Kazkahstan, a 55-year-old local resident was detained after police confiscated over 1 kilogram of heroin from him.

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