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Kazakhstan: Tax Police Summon Opposition Figure

Almaty, 8 January 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Amirzhan Qosanov, the chairman of the Republican People's Party of Kazakhstan executive committee, told a press conference in Almaty today that he and his lawyers have been summoned by the tax police for questioning. The tax police in Almaty have officially announced that a lawsuit has been filed against Qosanov and his Center for Support of Democratic Reforms (REFORMA). Qosanov said he and his center are being investigated for tax evasion. He said REFORMA is a noncommercial, nongovernmental organization that has never been involved in any business activities.

The Republican People's Party is headed by former Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin, who faces charges of embezzlement in Kazakhstan and has been living outside the country for nearly four years. The party and other opposition groups, as well as opposition media, claim the Kazakh government is orchestrating a campaign against them.