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Kazakh Report: July 16, 2002


16 July 2002

FORMER INDUSTRY, ENERGY AND TRADE MINISTER MAKES CLOSING STATEMENT
Former Industry, Energy and Trade Minister Mukhtar Abliyazov, one of the leading members of the opposition movement Democratic Choice for Kazakhstan (DVK), made his final statement on 16 July at his trial at the Supreme Court in Astana. Abliyazov described his childhood, the Soviet past, and the challenges faced by independent Republic of Kazakhstan in the early1990s. He said that he did his best to help improve the economic and democratic situation in Kazakhstan. "Unfortunately," Abliyazov said, "Nazarbayev's regime has been hindering real democratic reforms in the country, trying to concentrate more power in its own hands."

Abliyazov is accused of abuse of power and financial crimes while in office. He and his colleagues say that the accusations against him are politically motivated. The prosecutor has asked the Supreme Court's judge to sentence him to seven years imprisonment. Abliyazov said on 16 July that he is ready to pay the highest price for real freedom and democracy in Kazakhstan, adding that he is sure that his children would not be ashamed of their father. He also expressed his support for his colleague, former Pavlodar Oblast governor and co-founder of DVK Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov, whose trial opened on July 15.

FORMER PAVLODAR GOVERNOR: MY TRIAL IS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED
The trial of former Pavlodar Oblast governor Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov started in the town of Pavlodar on July 15. RFE/RL correspondents reported that only 40 persons, including guards, the prosecutor and lawyers, could fit in the court room, while most of those who wished to attend were unable to do so. Russian human rights activist Sergei Kovalev, Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan Executive Committee chairman Amirzhan Qosanov, Zhemis Turmaghambetova, who is deputy chairwoman of Kazakhstan's Bureau on Human Rights, AZAMAT party co-chairman Piotr Svoik and other well known political and human rights activists were present at the first day of the trial.

Zhaqiyanov said that his trial is politically motivated and asked the presiding judge to let him stay not in PavlodarSol Company's barrack but at home during the trial. Judge Igor Tarasenko rejected both that request and one that Prosecutors Demesinov and Yanchuk be replaced. Zhaqiyanov's lawyer asked to move the trial to a larger court room so that more people could be present, but that request was also declined.

Zhaqiyanov is accused of abuse of power and financial crimes while in office. Specifically, he is said to have influenced deals on the privatization of the Peschanski RMZ Joint Stock Company, Tort-Kuduk Mine and depot of Romat medicine producing facility. Russian lawyers are defending Zhaqiyanov at the trial.

INTERIOR MINISTRIES OF KAZAKHSTAN AND RUSSIA HOLD JOINT SESSION
Senior Kazakh and Russian Interior Ministry officials held a joint session in Oskemen, Eastern Kazakhstan Oblast on July 16 to discuss joint efforts against international terrorism, illegal migration and drugs trafficking. Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation have the longest border within the former Soviet Union --over 6,500 kilometers. The border is very transparent and number of illegal border crossing and drug trafficking cases has been increasing in recent years. Kazakhstan's Interior Minister Qayirbek Suleymenov and Russian First Deputy Minister of Interior Affairs General Nurpeisov participated in the session.

HUNDREDS OF UNVERSITY TEACHERS IN ALMATY ARE ASKED TO LEAVE DORMITORIES
Tolegen Qozhamqulov, the newly appointed rector of Al-Farabi State University in Almaty, has issued special orders that several hundred young teachers at the university must vacate their rooms in the university's dormitories, even though they have no alternative accomodation. Some of them tried to stage a protest, but others refused to participate, fearing that they might lose their jobs. The rector's press secretary refused to comment on the situation and asked RFE/RL correspondents to leave the university building. Manshuk Muqasheva who heads the university's Trade Unions said that a special commission has been established to examine the situation. One man who lost his housing said on condition of anonymity that it seems that the University's leadership intends to use the vacated dormitories for commercial purposes.

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