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Activists Form Committee To Defend Kazakh Opposition Leader


Rights activists and suporters say they will defend Kazakhstan oppositional politicians Vladimir Kozlov, left, and Zhasaral Kuanyshalin.

Rights activists and suporters say they will defend Kazakhstan oppositional politicians Vladimir Kozlov, left, and Zhasaral Kuanyshalin.

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Rights activists and supporters of a Kazakh opposition leader have formed a committee to defend him against "politically motivated accusations," RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Vladimir Kozlov, the leader of the unregistered opposition party Algha (Forward), announced in October that he plans to take part in the presidential election scheduled for 2012. He and leaders of Kazakhstan's Communist Party were subsequently pelted with eggs. The Almaty city police have also launched an investigation into alleged tax evasion by Kozlov.

Kazakh opposition politicians and human rights activists say that the investigation is connected with Kozlov's plans to run for president.

Algha spokesman Mikhail Sizov told journalists in Almaty that the newly established committee's first official statement was signed by 133 Kazakh human rights defenders, journalists, and opposition activists.

He said the statement says all the accusations leveled against Kozlov are politically motivated.

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