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Former Kazakh Minister Released From Detention, Placed Under House Arrest

ASTANA -- A former Kazakh Health Minister on trial for financial crimes is to be held under house arrest after a court today ordered him released from custody for health reasons, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Zhaqsylyq Dosqaliev went on trial in Astana on May 19 on charges of abuse of office, embezzlement, bribe taking, and the illegal sale of real estate.

Dosqaliev has pleaded not guilty. His lawyers say he remains in poor health following the stroke they claim he suffered last fall.

Kazakh financial police say they suspect Dosqaliev, 54, simulated a stroke after they interrogated him in September. Dosqaliev was hospitalized and later transferred to a pretrial detention center in Astana.

President Nursultan Nazarbaev dismissed him from his ministerial post on October 8.

Several doctors who diagnosed Dosqaliev as having suffered a stroke were charged later that month with "using their professional position to obstruct the course of justice."

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