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Trial Of Kazakh Rights Activist Postponed

Yevgeny Zhovtis

Yevgeny Zhovtis

ALMATY -- The trial of the prominent Kazakh human rights activist Yevgeny Zhovtis has begun in the town of Bakanas in Almaty Oblast but lasted just for several minutes before it was postponed due to the absence of the defendant's lawyers, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Zhovtis, who is the director of the Bureau for Human Rights in Kazakhstan, confirmed to RFE/RL on August 27, that his lawyers were not able to be present at the trial due to urgent reasons and that his trial was moved to September 2.

He faces charges of causing a death while driving a car.

On July 26, Zhovtis was driving a car on a highway in Almaty Oblast when he struck and killed a man.

A first test showed no alcohol in Zhovtis's blood and a technical examination of the accident reported that he had no chance to avoid the accident, which occurred when a drunken man reportedly entered the street in front of Zhovtis's car.

Kazakh authorities decided several days later to take a second forensics test.

That one found alcohol in Zhovtis's blood and technical experts report that the accident might have been prevented by the driver.

Several human rights groups claim that Zhovtis's case is being held to pressure him on his professional activities.