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Kazakhstan: OSCE Head Calls For Fair Treatment Of Jailed Activists

Almaty, 7 July 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Chairman in Office Jaap de Hoop Scheffer called today for the fair treatment of two jailed Kazakh opposition activists. Speaking after talks in Almaty with Kazakh Foreign Minister Qasymzhomart Toqaev, De Hoop Scheffer said he discussed the cases of opposition journalist Sergei Duvanov and opposition leader Galymzhan Zhaqiyanov. Both activists were jailed during the past year on what supporters and human rights activists call politically motivated charges.

De Hoop Scheffer, who is also the Dutch foreign minister, said he asked for "a fair trial." Both activists have already been sentenced, but appeals are ongoing.

The OSCE chairman also met today with Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev. De Hoop Scheffer is due to leave Kazakhstan for Uzbekistan tonight. He also plans to visit Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on his Central Asian tour, which is being dominated by talks on security, democratization, and human rights.