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Kazakh Report: June 12, 2002


12 June 2002

DATE SET FOR MUKHTAR ABLIYAZOV'S TRIAL
Guliam Mazanov, a lawyer representing former Kazakh Minister of Trade and Industry Mukhtar Abliyazov, who is a leading member of the opposition movement Democratic Choice for Kazakhstan (DVK), told a press conference in Astana on 12 June that the investigation of Abliyazov's case has been completed and his trial will begin on June 24. Abliyazov is accused of embezzlement while serving as minister. Specifically he is said to have engaged in illegal business dealings with Dadahoja Ziyatov, who is President of Uzbekistan's Savdo-Energo Company, and with whom Abliyazov allegedly managed to earn large sums of money illegally.

The second point of the indictment says that Abliyazov used his official mobile phone for personal calls, causing financial losses to the state estimated at over 400,000 Tenges ($2,625).

Abliyazov's lawyers and Tolen Toqtasynov, who is a deputy of the Mazhilis (the lower chamber of the Kazakh parliament), say that the charges brought against Abliyazov are politically motivated.

GHALYMZHAN ZHAQIYANOV'S HEALTH DETERIORATES
Another DVK leader, former Pavlodar Oblast governor Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov, was moved last week to Pavlodar City Clinic's emergency room from the barracks belonging to the local PavlodarSol Company where he was being held under house arrest. He is charged with financial crimes committed while he was Pavlodar governor. His lawyers say those charges are politcally motivated.

On June 12, investigator Qusman Hussainov entered Zhaqiyanov's room unannounced and tried to interrogate him. Zhaqiyanov's wife Qarlyghash protested the intrusion and asked the investigator to leave, but he refused to do so and demanded that Zhaqiyanov answer his questions. When Qarlyghash Zhaqiyanova started filming the situation, Hussainov assaulted her. Zhaqiyanov tried to get out of bed to help his wife, but collapsed, according to his press secretary Nurlan Zholdasov. Qarlyghash Zhaqiyanova is being treated in hospital for unspecified injuries.

FORMER KAZAKH PREMIER RECEIVES PASSPORT OF FREEDOM AT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
Akezhan Kazhegeldin, self-exiled head of the opposition Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan, received a so-called Passport of Freedom at European Parliament's plenary session in Strasbourg on June 11. Fifteen members of the parliament signed the passport. One of them, Ari Vattanen, told RFE/RL that Kazhegeldin was the 27th person who received such a document in the history of the European Parliament. He said that the European Parliament bestows such awards to support individuals fighting for establishing democratic institutes in their countries. "This is a message to ordinary citizens of Kazakhstan and Kazakhstan's leadership saying that we support Mr. Kazhegeldin and his colleagues in their activities on establishing real democratic society where human rights are respected," Vattanen said.

RFE/RL correspondents in Astana asked Sharip Omar, the Chairman of the Mazhilis's Committee on International Affairs, Defense and Security, to comment on the award but he refused to do so, saying that it is too early to speak about democratic institutions in Kazkahstan. He also said that Kazakhstan is not a member of the Council of Europe.

BUS ACCIDENT KILLS DRIVER AND TWO JOURNALISTS
Two journalists, Ekaterina Latypova of "Panorama" weekly and Erzhan Imanqulov, a camerman 31 Kanal TV-Channel, were killed in a traffic accident in Eastern Kazkahstan Oblast's Zhangiz Tobe district late on 11 June. About a dozen journalists from Almaty were on their way to Kurchatov in Eastern Kazakhstan Oblast in order to cover an international conference on nuclear arms. It is not clear what caused the accident in which the bus driver reportedly also died. Another passenger, journalist Luibov Krasnova from the newspaper "Vremya," was hospitalized with serious injuries.

MEMBER OF REPUBLICAN PEOPLE'S PARTY RELEASED FROM DETENTION
Oleg Izmailov of Kokshetau in North Kazakhstan, who is an activist of the Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan, was detained by police in the Otrar Raion of South Kazkahstan Oblast on 11 June. The police confiscated from Izmailov the most recent issues of the opposition newspapers "SolDat" and "Respublika" and interrogated him. Izmailov was released on 12 June and took the first train north to Kokshetau.

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