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Trial Of Prominent Kazakh Businessman Begins

The high-profile trial of a Kazakh businessman charged with attempting to overthrow the government, extremism, and illegal weapon possession has begun in Astana.

The Astana Military Court began the hearings behind closed doors on September 14.

Tokhtar Toleshov, chief executive of one of Kazakhstan's largest breweries, was detained in January along with 24 other suspects, including the ex-deputy prosecutor-general and the former chief of the South Kazakhstan regional police. All 25 men are on trial.

Toleshov's detention followed a crackdown by Astana on both pro-Russian and nationalist activists.

Toleshov had run the Kazakh office of a Russia-based organization called the Center for the Analysis of Terrorist Threats. He had also advised Russia's parliament on matters of economic cooperation and religion.

Based on reporting by and