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Kazakh Report: June 11, 2002


11 June 2002

FORMER KAZAKH PREMIER TO RECEIVE FREEDOM PASSPORT AT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
The leader of the Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan, former Kazakh Prime Minster Akezhan Kazhegeldin, is expected to receive a Freedom Passport at European Parliament's plenary session on 11 June. The Freedom Passport is a document given to politicians of countries where human rights cannot be taken for granted. The document is usually given as support to persons facing pressure in their countries for their political views.

Kazhegeldin is regarded as the main political challenger to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. He has been living in self-imposed exile in Europe since1998. He was tried in absentia by Kazakhstan's Supreme Court in 2001 and found guilty of financial abuse, tax evasion and illegal possession of weapons. The Supreme Court sentenced Kazhegeldin to 10 years of jail. Kazhegeldin and his associates claim that his trial and all the accusations against him are politically motivated.

The editor-in-chief of the newspaper "SolDat," Ermurat Bapi, who plans to participate in the ceremony, told RFE/RL that 15 leading members of European Parliament and well-known European politicians have signed the Freedom Passport for Kazhegeldin.

PROTESTORS IN PAVLODAR DEMAND IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF GHALYMZHAN ZHAQIYANOV
On June 11, the OSCE office in Almaty expressed its concern over the health state of former Pavlodar Oblast governor Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov, who is also a leading member of the opposition movement Democratic Choice for Kazakhstan. Zhaqiyanov is accused of financial abuse and is being kept in detention in a barracks belonging to PavlodarSol Company.

Also on 11 June, dozens of Pavlodar citizens gathered in the city center demanding Zhaqiyanov's immediate release. Bakhyt Niyazbek-Qyzy of the Committee for Zhaqiyanov's Release told RFE/RL that his wife Qarylghash is on hunger strike demanding her husband's doctor be allowed to see him. Zhaqiyanov's health has reportedly worsened in the last couple of weeks, but local officials do not allow his own doctor to examine him. Instead, they sent a doctor of their own to treat Zhaqiyanov in detention.

KAZMUNAYGAZ COMPANY HOLDS PRESS CONFERENCE ON RUSSO-KAZAKH ENERGY AGREEMENTS
Representatives of KazMunayGaz Company held a press conference in Almaty on 10 June at which they said that the agreements signed by Kazakh Vice Premier Karim Massimov and Russian Deputy Premier Victor Khristenko will allow Kazkahstan to transport its natural gas and crude oil through Russian oil pipelines for 15 years. It was also reported that Kazakhstan will support any ideas on additional routes for exporting its hydrocarbons, including the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline and possible routes through Iran. Since Kazakhstan is going to become the world's largest oil and gas provider, it is interested in any route possible, said KazMunayGaz President Lazzat Qiyinov. It was also reported that under the agreement signed by the Kazakh and Russian Vice Premiers in Saint-Petersburg last week, a new Russian-Kazakh joint venture called KazRusGaz has been established.

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