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Kazakh Report: June 19, 2002


19 June 2002

GHALYMZHAN ZHAQIYANOV'S CONDITION ALARMING: KAZAKH POLITICIANS
Pokoleniye (Generation) movement leader Irina Savostina, AZAT leader Ersain Erqozha, and Marzhan Aspandiarova of the AZAMAT party visited Pavlodar this week in order to assess the condition of former Pavlodar Oblast governor Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov. On June 19 they held a press conference at the Almaty-based office of the opposition movement Kazakhstan's Democratic Choice (DVK), where they told journalists that they were not allowed to enter the Pavlodar Clinic where Zhaqiyanov is reportedly undergoing treatment. According to Erqozha, the clinic's entrance was guarded by OMON soldiers and eight investigators were inside the clinic reportedly "working with Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov."

Aspandiarova said that she had received information that Zhaqityanov has been treated for some time with injections of the powerful sedatives Relanium and Dimedrol, but she has no information concerning the frequency of such treatments or the dosage. She said Zhaqiyanov is forced to "get acquainted with the 12 volumes of his case while being under the influence of strong sedatives." Zhaqiyanov is accused of financial crimes while serving as governor of Pavlodar Oblast.

LEADER OF DVK PAVLODAR BRANCH APPEALS TO RUSSIAN PRESIDENT
Gennadii Bondarenko, who heads the DVK branch in Pavlodar, said on 19 June that he has sent an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin and to Russian State Duma speaker Gennadii Seleznev asking them to protect him and his comrades. Bondarenko said his movement is a political organization standing for Kazakhstan's sovereignty and independence, but the political pressure exerted on DVK by the local authorities gives its members no other choice than to seek protection in neighboring countries. He called on the Russian leadership to be involved in political developments in Kazakhstan.

KAZAKH PARLIAMENT AGAIN FAILS TO ADOPT DRAFT LAW ON POLITICAL PARTIES
Deputies of the Mazhilis (the Lower Chamber of Kazakhstan's parliament) tried to discuss the draft law on political parties on June 19. A group of parliament deputies has been pushing the idea of introducing a new law on political parties, according to which any political party should have at least 50,000 members and have at least 10 per cent votes in the country in order to be eligible for legal registration. A lively debate took place but the draft was not put to a vote.

DEATH PENALTY DISCUSSED IN ALMATY.
The chairwoman of the Almaty-Helsinki organization, Ninel Fokina, well known Kazakh lawyer Zhan Kursekin, and Ersin Aqbayev, whose two brothers are under sentence of death, held a press conference in Almaty on 19 June at which they noted that capital punishment is banned in 74 countries, in 15 countries the death penalty may be handed down only in time of war, and 24 countries, including Russian Federation have been observing a moratorium on the death penalty for several years. The death penalty still exists in 84 countries including Kazakhstan.

Kursekin said that the main contradiction in the Kazakh Constitution is between the article affirming that "human beings are Kazakhstan's main asset" and that stating that "the death penalty is possible in Kazakhstan."

Aqbayev said that his two brothers and one other person were convicted of killing a Customs officer in South Kazakhstan, and that all three of them were sentenced to death. "Only in the world's most cruel and strict legislation called Shariat (Muslim Law) three persons' lives could be taken for the life of one murdered," Aqbayev said. In 2000, forty criminals were found guilty and sentenced to death in Kazakhstan. Only in three cases was the death penalty commuted to long term imprisonment. As for the rest, their verdicts were carried out. In 2001 two of 39 persons sentenced to death in Kazakhstan were left alive, all the rest were shot. Currently about 40 persons are waiting in Kazakh jails either for implementation or for the commuting of their sentence.

LENIN'S STATUE REMOVED FROM OSKEMEN CITY CENTER
A monument to Lenin was removed from the central square in Oskemen (Ust'-Kamenogorsk) on June 18. It is the first time a monument to a Soviet-era leader has been removed in the town. The first statue of Lenin to be removed in Kazakhstan was that in Semey (Semipalatinsk), then center of Semey Oblast, in 1995 on the order of Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov, who served as Semey governor in 1994-1995. Monuments to such Soviet leaders as Yakov Ushanov, Sergey Kirov and others still stand in the central part of Oskemen and some other major towns in Kazakhstan.

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