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Kazakh Opposition Politician Faces New Libel Charge

 President Nursultan Nazarbaev

President Nursultan Nazarbaev

ALMATY -- A Kazakh opposition politician is facing a new libel case over an article he wrote more than four years ago that was critical of President Nursultan Nazarbaev, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Zhasaral Quanyshalin learned of the new lawsuit as Almaty's Medeu district court resumed hearings today in the initial libel complaint over the article.

In November, Seitkerim Qozhanazar, a resident of the town of Qaskelen near Almaty, filed the lawsuit against Quanyshalin demanding 50,000 tenges ($340) compensation and apologies for his article titled "Laws Do Not Apply To Nazarbaev" that was printed in the weekly "Epokha."

At the hearing today, Qozhanazar announced that he had filed another libel suit against Quanyshalin accusing him of lying in his official appeal against the charges he is facing. Qozhanazar said another judge had agreed to hear the new case.

Quanyshalin, 61, a former parliament deputy and long-time critic of Nazarbaev, is currently the chairman of the recently established Long Live Liberty movement.

Quanyshalin announced in November that he planned to run in the next presidential election. That was initially due in 2012, but Nazarbaev on January 31 said he would call an early poll.

Judge Daulet Abdyqalyqov adjourned today's hearing until February 8.

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