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Sunday 3 November 2019

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Yaroslav Dubnevych must wear a monitoring device and had to surrender his passport and other travel documents to the authorities.

A Ukrainian member of parliament stripped of his immunity on suspicion of embezzlement has said he will appeal a court decision over the weekend that set bail at $4 million.

Speaking to local Hromadske TV, Yaroslav Dubnevych said he didn't know where to find the money in the five-day time frame he was given on November 2 to procure the money.

"In the absence of any evidence, I consider the court's decision unfounded, so we are preparing an appeal. The fight for justice continues!" Dubnevych said in a Facebook post.

Prosecutors, whose motion to have the lawmaker remanded in custody was rejected, haven't said whether they will appeal the High Anti-Corruption Court's ruling.

However, Vitaliy Ponomarenko, a prosecutor at the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, has said that a motion will be filed to have Dubnevych put in pretrial detention if he doesn't post bail in time.

The lawmaker has also been ordered to report any address or employment changes to the authorities and refrain from speaking to witnesses in the criminal case against him. Dubnevych, meanwhile, must wear a monitoring device and had to surrender his passport and other travel documents to the authorities.

Dubnevych, a member of the Za Maybutnye (For the Future) group of lawmakers that political analysts say is affiliated with billionaire Ihor Kolomoyskiy, is suspected of siphoning $3.75 million from the state-run railway company Ukrzaliznytsya.

Parliament on October 31 voted to strip him of immunity and arrest him.

Specifically, Dubnevych allegedly lobbied to have money allocated from the railway company to firms that he controls for procurement orders that led to financial losses at Ukrzaliznytsya.

He denies the allegations as political populism.

He is a three-term lawmaker and previously in 2014 became a member of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc in parliament, named after the former president.

With reporting by Hromadske TV
Kazakh law enforcement officers detain participants at an opposition rally in Almaty on September 21.

Kazakhstan’s domestic political scene has been significantly more active since first President Nursultan Nazarbaev stepped down from office in March this year and installed Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev as his successor.

Small protests, sometimes just a single person, have been frequent and continue to draw clumsy responses from officials. The October 26 anti-Chinese protests were a good example, as police were out in force across major cities, dragging people, sometimes innocent passersby, to buses to be taken to police stations.

And although most already considered Nazarbaev, who enjoys broad powers under Kazakhstan’s constitution both as first president and in his current position as head of the Security Council, to still be in charge in Kazakhstan, for some reason it was necessary to publish on October 22 a presidential decree adopted but not made public on October 9, essentially confirming Nazarbaev’s central role in governing the country.

On this week's podcast, RFE/RL's Media-Relations Manager Muhammad Tahir moderated a discussion on the latest events in Kazakhstan.

Participating from Almaty was Joanna Lillis, a veteran reporter on Central Asia and author of the book Dark Shadows: Inside The Secret World Of Kazakhstan. From Washington D.C., William Courtney, former U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan and currently an adjunct senior fellow at the Rand Corporation, took part in the discussion. And from Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana), Kazakhstan, Aliya Izbassarova, the co-founder of the Qaharman human rights initiative, joined the podcast. As usual, I had a few things to say.

Majlis Podcast: Protests And Palace Intrigue In Kazakhstan
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Listen to the podcast above or subscribe to the Majlis on iTunes or on Google Podcasts.

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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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