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Kazakh Report: June 27, 2002


27 June 2002

MUKHTAR ABLIYAZOV'S TRIAL CONTINUES, STATE-RUN TV CHANNEL CRITICIZES HIS SUPPORTERS
The trial on charges of embezzlement of former Energy, Industry and Trade Minister Mukhtar Abliyazov, who is a leading member of the opposition movement Kazakhstan's Democratic Choice (DVK), continued on 27 June. Over 200 persons arrived in Astana from different parts of Kazakhstan in order to attend the trial, but were not allowed in the courtroom.

Late on 26 July Kazakhstan's main television company "Khabar," which is part of Khabar media-holding run by President Nursultan Nazarbayev''s daughter Darigha, reported that Abliyazov's supporters congregated in Astana after DVK promised to pay each of them about 2,000 Tenges (about $13). Several supporters of Abliyazov told RFE/RL on 27 June that Khabar's report was not true. They said they had come not because of any promise of money, but in order to seek justice and demonstrate their support for Abliyazov and his colleague, former Pavlodar Oblast governor Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov, who is also a leading DVK member. Zhaqiyanov is similarly accused of embezzlement and his trial is expected to begin in the near future.

EDITORS OF CLOSED IRBIS TV CHANNEL HOPE TO REVIVE IT
The editor-in-Chief of Pavlodar's IRBIS TV-Channel, Asqar Shumshekov, and his associates arrived in Astana on 27 June. They told RFE/RL that the main aim of their visit is to focus the attention of the Kazakh Parliament on the plight of some media outlets and to effect a reversal of the decision by Pavlodar Oblast Court on closing their company. IRBIS TV channel started facing problems earlier this year after re-transmitting TAN-TV's series of programs devoted to Mukhtar Abliyazov. According to Shumshekov, IRBIS TV-Channel was been closed for political reasons, not because of technical shortcomings as Pavlodar officials claimed.

JOURNALISTS IN KAZAKHSTAN TO MARK THEIR PROFESSIONAL HOLIDAY
June 28 is officially designated Day of Journalists in Kazakhstan. The Union of Journalists of Kazakhstan held a special gathering in Almaty on 27 June to mark the occasion at which veteran journalists shared their experiences and expressed their thoughts on the current situation of the mass media.

In Leninogorsk, Eastern Kazakhstan, young journalists from Belarus, Estonia, Germany, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and the Russian Federation took part in a special conference devoted to the Day of Journalists and exchanged information and expertise with their colleagues.

President Nazarbayev is reportedly scheduled to visit Leninogorsk in the very near future. The local Maslikhat (Council) has decided to re-name the city Ridder (its original name, after a British engineer-businessman who opened several mines in the area in 19th century). After the October 1917 Revolution the city was renamed Leninogorsk (the City of Lenin's Mountains) but it is now likely to revert to its original name.

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