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Kazakh Opposition Leader Given Early Release

(RFE/RL) 14 December 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Kazakh opposition leader Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov, jailed for more than three years, has won early release from jail, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported.

Zhaqiyanov's wife says a court in Ekibastuz in the northern Pavlodar Oblast made the decision today.

She said the ruling will take legal effect in 10 days during which Zhaqiyanov will remain in his settlement colony.

Zhaqiyanov founded the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK) party in 2001. He was sentenced to seven years in prison the following year on abuse of power charges while the governor of Pavlodar Oblast.

DVK was banned in 2004, but Zhaqiyanov joined the opposition coalition For a Just Kazakhstan while in prison.

Zhaqiyanov's supporters and rights groups say his imprisonment was politically motivated.

(with material from AFP/Interfax)

The Voting In Images

The Voting In Images

Workers at Almaty polling station No. 310 registering election monitors prior to the opening of voting on December 4

To see more images collected by RFE/RL's Kazakh Service during the voting on December 4, click here.

RFE/RL's complete coverage and background of Kazakhstan's presidential election on December 4, 2005.