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Kazakh Report: July 18, 2002


18 July 2002

FORMER MINISTER OF INDUSTRY, ENERGY AND TRADE SENTENCED TO SIX YEARS
Kazakhstan's Supreme Court Judge Qalidolla Shaukharov on July 18 pronounced former Kazakh Minister of Industry, Energy and Trade Mukhtar Abliyazov guilty of abuse of power and financial crimes and sentenced him to six years imprisonment His property, including his four-room apartment in Almaty, will be confiscated, and he is obliged to pay a 587 million Tenges fine ($3.83 million) to the State Treasury. Since the verdict was handed down by Kazakhstan's Supreme Court, Abliyazov does not have right to appeal to any other authority or institution, although he may appeal to President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Abliyazov is a cofounder ofthe opposition movement Democratic Choice for Kazakhstan (DVK).

Kazakh Communist leader and parliament deputy Serikbolsyn Abdildin, who is also a member of DVK's political council, said after the verdict was pronounced that "...whatever has been organized against those two persons (Mukhtar Abliyazov and Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov), who are turning into real national heroes now, is a politically motivated order." Another member of DVK's political council, National Congress Party of Kazakhstan Deputy Chair Gulzhan Ergaliyeva, said that her unnamed reliable sources informed her that before his departue on vacation earlier this week President Nazarbayev issued instructions to the Supreme Court to hand down the severest possible punishment to Abliyazov and former Pavlodar Oblast governor Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov. Zhaqiyanov's trial opened on 15 July; he too is accused of financial crimes and abuse of power.

U.S. AMBASSADOR TO KAZAKHSTAN STARTS WORKING VISIT TO SOUTH KAZAKHSTAN OBLAST
U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan Larry Napper began a working trip to South Kazakhstan Oblast on July 18. Visiting the town of Shymkent, Napper met with South Kazakhstan Oblast deputy governor Sergey Gromov to discuss implementation of USAID's projects in South Kazakhstan region. According to the South Kazakhstan Oblast Administration's press service, Napper is also scheduled to hold talks with the Shymkent City mayor. Oblast governor Berdibek Saparbayev is not able to meet with Napper as his son was hospitalized earlier this week after a traffic accident on the Qyzyl Orda - Taraz highway.

ISSUE OF SCHENGEN VISAS SUSPENDED TEMPORARILY
German Ambassador to Kazakhstan Andreas Koerting held a press conference in Almaty on 18 July at which he said that the German Embassy has temporarily suspended issuing Schengen visas to travel agencies in Almaty because of recent cases of fraud. He explained that it is very hard to differentiate between genuine and forged travel documents.

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