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Riot police patrol in Zhanaozen on December 18.
Kazakh politicians and rights activists have announced the creation of an international committee to defend the victims of the shootings in the southwestern town of Zhanaozen and activists arrested in connection with the violence.

At least 16 protesting oil workers were shot dead by police in Zhanaozen in December. Dozens were arrested afterward.

Leaders of the Kazakh Communist Party, the head of the Journalists In Trouble nongovernmental organization, and other activists on February 14 announced the creation of the Zhanaozen-2011 committee.

They told journalists in Almaty that human rights organizations in Kyrgyzstan, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine have expressed interest in joining.

Meanwhile, activists in Zhanaozen have asked local authorities to permit the holding of two separate public gatherings in the town later this month.

Authorities have not ruled on the requests.
Vladimir Kozlov
ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- The wife of the jailed chairman of Kazakhstan's unregistered opposition Algha (Forward) party says her husband's rights as a prisoner are being violated.

Aliya Turysbekova, wife of Vladimir Kozlov, told journalists in Almaty on February 13 that National Security Committee officers had not allowed her to meet with her husband and refused to accept food and clothes she has been trying to pass to him since his arrest.

Turysbekova also said Kozlov's lawyer has not been allowed to talk to his client face-to-face since he was incarcerated.

No comment on the allegations was available from Kazakh authorities.

The National Security Committee arrested Kozlov on January 26 and charged him with "inciting social hatred" in the southwestern town of Zhanaozen, where at least 16 striking oil workers were shot dead by police in mid-December.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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