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Kazakh Report: May 24, 2002


24 May 2002

ALMATY POLICE BLAME HOOLIGANS FOR ATTACKS ON MEDIA
Rakhimzhan Taizhanov, who is a representative of the Almaty City Interior Affairs Department, told journalists late on 23 May that the attacks earlier this week on the newspapers "SolDat" and "Delovoye Obozreniye-Respublika" were the work of hooligans and burglars (see "RFE/RL Kazakh Report," 23 May 2002).

U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan Larry Napper has met with "Delovoye Obozreniye-Respublika" Editor-in-Chief Irina Petrushova, and visited the paper's burned-out office. Napper also held meetings with unnamed Almaty city officials and expressed his concern about the attacks on the two newspapers, urging the city administration to fully investigate the case and find those involved in the attack.

DEMOCRATIC CHOICE OF KAZAKHSTAN MOVEMENT'S BRANCH IN ATYRAU UNDER PRESSURE
Zhumatay Dospanov, who heads the Atyrau branch of the opposition movement Democratic Choice for Kazakhstan (DVK), told RFE/RL on 24 May that his organization has started facing problems recently. He said local tax police and interior affairs department officials started interrogating some of the members of the movement's branch, implying that they try to avoid paying taxes or engage in other illegal financial machinations.

CUSTOMS CONFISCATES LARGE QUANTITY OF HEROIN FROM A TAJIK CITIZEN
The South Kazakhstan Oblast Customs Service reports that a large quantity of heroin was confiscated from a citizen of Tajikistan who tried to cross the Kazakh-Uzbek border by car. Zakhariy Edgarov was stopped by South Kazakhstan Oblast Customs officers this week and four large packets of heroin were found under the back seat of his car after a thorough search. The exact weight of the drug in kilograms has not been announced. Edgarov is a chef at a restaurant in Dushanbe and has a wife and several children in Tajikistan. Investigations are continuing.

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