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Kazakh Opposition Leader, Activist Detained Before Opposition Session

  • RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

Kazakh opposition leader Bolat Abilov (file photo)

Kazakh opposition leader Bolat Abilov (file photo)

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- The chairman of Kazakhstan's opposition Azat (Free) party, Bolat Abilov, and opposition activist Marat Zhanuzaqov have been detained in Almaty.

The two politicians were arrested hours before leading opposition groups started a joint meeting on July 12.

Dozens of delegates traveled from all over Kazakhstan to take part in the session. It was being held outdoors because the opposition organizers say no one would provide them a venue for the meeting.

Several opposition activists were summoned by Almaty's Financial Police on July 11 and questioned regarding possible connections with fugitive opposition banker Mukhtar Ablyazov.

A spokesman for Almaty's Department for the Fight against Economic Crimes and Corruption confirmed to RFE/RL that Abilov and Zhanuzaqov were in custody, but would provide no other details regarding their detention.