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Former Kazakh Uranium Company Chief's Trial Starts

Mukhtar Dzhakishev

Mukhtar Dzhakishev

ASTANA -- The trial of Mukhtar Dzhakishev, the former head of Kazakh uranium producer KazAtomProm, began in Astana today, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

His wife, Dzhamilya Dzhakisheva, told RFE/RL that despite promises of a transparent trial, Dzhakishev's hearing today on corruption charges was held behind closed doors.

Dzhakishev's lawyer, Nurlan Beisekeev, was the only person allowed to attend the proceedings.

Dzhakisheva said it was not clear if all future sessions of the trial will also be closed. She said the Prosecutor-General's Office promised to do everything to ensure the trial was transparent and open to the media.

Dzhakishev and a number of his associates were arrested in May and have been held in a National Security Committee jail in Astana since then.

Dzhakishev's relatives and colleagues say he has suffered from health problems while in detention.

Opposition groups in Kazakhstan consider the charges against him and his co-workers to be politically motivated.