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Kazakh Opposition Says Abilov Charges Fabricated

Bolat Abilov (file photo) (RFE/RL) ALMATY, November 13, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- The leader of Kazakhstan's National Social Democratic Party today accused authorities of fabricating charges against opposition businessman Bolat Abilov, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Abilov, who is also a co-chairman of the Naghyz Ak Zhol (True Bright Path) opposition party, is accused of stealing the equivalent of $875,000 when he headed the BUTYA-Capital investment fund in the early 1990s.

Addressing a news briefing in Almaty, National Social Democratic Party leader Zharmakhan Tuyakbai said embezzlement accusations brought against Abilov were unfounded.

"We studied the documents that investigators used [to conduct their probe] and we came to the conclusion that not a single kopek was stolen," Tuyakbai said. "All funds were returned to BUTYA-Capital. Therefore no criminal offense, no theft was committed. All depends now on the court. If the court is interested in finding the truth, it should send the case back for reexamination."

Addressing the same news briefing, Naghyz Ak Zhol co-Chairman Oraz Zhandosov described the case as "politically motivated." He said a campaign to collect signatures in Abilov's support would begin on November 14.

In July, Abilov was given a three-year suspended prison sentence on charges of insulting a police officer and threatening him with violence.

Several weeks later, he was charged with embezzlement and abuse of office.

(with Interfax-Kazakhstan)

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