27 December 2001
CENTRAL ASIAN PRESIDENTS MEET IN TASHKENT
The presidents of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are meeting in Tashkent on December 27 to discuss regional security, the situation in Afghanistan, and mutual economic cooperation and trade.
TWO WOMEN HOSPITALIZED AFTER SELF-IMMOLATION ATTEMPT
Two women from the Baidibek raion in South Kazakhstan Oblast were hospitalized on December 24 after a self-immolation attempt on the tower of the Astana sports stadium. Aysulu Izbasarova and Raifa Seidakhmetova have been trying to meet Kazakhstan's leadership since September 1 (see "RFE/RL Kazakh Report," 19 December 2001). Their main goal is to make local authorities of South Kazakhstan pay all the overdue social allowances to mothers of Baidibek area. The two women told RFE/RL correspondents who visited them on 27 December that the future of 14,000 children in Baidibek raion is at stake. They also said they will continue their campaign.
'KOMSOMOLSKAYA PRAVDA' ANNULS KAZAKHSTAN CORRESPONDENTS' CONTRACTS
The editorial board of the Russian newspaper "Komsomol'skaya pravda" has unexpectedly annulled a contract signed with a group of journalists in Kazakhstan. The journalists, led by Alexander Kraisner, were informed that starting December 27, the contract signed between Mr. Kraisner's group and "Komsomol'skaya pravda" has been annulled. Kraisner plans to sue "Komsomol'skaya pravda" in Moscow's Arbitration Court.
Ermurat Bapi, who is chief editor of the oppositional newspaper "SolDat" told RFE/RL that he is sure the decision was politically motivated, and that some political groups close to President Nazarbayev and his son-in-law Timur Kulibayev were behind it. Bapi said that the decision could also be the continuation of the campaign by the Nazarbayev clan to take all the mass media outlets in the country under its control.
PRESIDENT ORGANIZES CHRISTMAS PARTY FOR ORPHANS
The traditional presidential "New Year Christmas Tree" Party took place in Astana on December 27. Some 200 children from different orphanages were invited and received gifts from President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
KAZAKHSTAN'S COMMUNISTS DEMAND RESTORATION OF USSR
Supporters of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan, most of them elderly, gathered in Almaty on 27 December to demand that the Kazakh leadership start the process of joining the Russian-Belarus Union. They also called for the revival of the former Soviet Union, which, they argued, is the only way for Kazakhstan to recover economically. But Communist leader Serikbolsyn Abdildin, who is also a deputy to the Mazhilis (the lower chamber of Kazakhstan's parliament) told journalists that it is too early for Kazakhstan to think about joining the Russian-Belarus Union. He said that since nowadays Russian Federation and Belarus are led by bourgeois and anti-proletariat governments, it would not be appropriate for Kazakhstan to join such a Union.
FORTY SEVEN SRILANKANS DETAINED IN PETROPAVLOVSK THIS WEEK
Forty seven illegal immigrants from Sri Lanka have been detained by local police in Petropavlovsk, North Kazakhstan this week. Petropavlovsk City police spokesman Spartak Qabdenov told RFE/RL that the Sri Lankan nationals had first travelled to Kyrgyzstan and then crossed illegally to Kazakhstan. The group's final destination was Europe. Some of the detained Sri Lankans have reportedly already been sent back home.
PRESIDENT'S SON-IN-LAW SUES INTERNEWS AGENCY
The former deputy chairman of Kazakhstan's National Security Committee, Rakhat Aliyev, has brought a law suit against the Internews Agency for "insulting his personal dignity and honor," his lawyers said on 21 December. President Nazarbayev sacked Aliyev from that post in mid-November during the stand-off between Aliyev and a group of young politicians led by the governor of Pavlodar Oblast, Ghalymzhan Zhaqiyanov. Rakhat Aliyev was subsequently named deputy commander of Presidential Guard. He has already sued the weekly "Vremya Po" on similar grounds. The editorial board of "Vremiya Po" was found guilty of giving "false information about Mr. Aliyev" earlier this month.
Nurzhan Zhalal-Qyzy of Internews-Kazakhstan told RFE/RL that under Kazakh law, any lawsuit against an international organization should be brought at a City Court or higher boards. Internews Agency's headquarters are officially registered in California.
BALTASH TURSYMBAYEV EXPRESSED SUPPORT FOR BOLAT ABILOV
Well known Kazakh politician Baltash Tursymbayev has issued a statement concerning Bolat Abilov, who was recently deprived of his parliament deputy's mandate following his decision to quit the ranks of the pro-Nazarbayev Otan party. He had been elected to the Parliament as a member of that party in 1999 (see "RFE/RL Kazakh Report," 21 December 2001 ). Tursymbayev said that Abilov should sue the Kazakh Parliament and the Central Election Committee both in Kazakhstan and in an international court. Tursymbayev is a former minister of agriculture, governor of Qostanay Oblast, and Ambassador to Turkey. He has been unemployed since being sacked from the post of deputy premier in 1999.
PARLIAMENT'S UPPER CHAMBER RETURNED LAW ON MIGRATION TO MAZHILIS FOR ADDITIONAL DISCUSSION
The Senate (the Upper Chamber of parliament) on 21 December returned the draft law on migration to the Mazhilis (Lower Chamber), having rejected Senator Abylkhan Mashani's proposal to free all Kazakh repatriates from customs taxes. In all, senators proposed over 10 amendments and additions to the draft. The Mazhilis is expected to discuss the draft law before sending it back to the Senate.