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Kazakh Officials Investigating 'Godfather-In-Law' Book

Rakhat Aliev
Rakhat Aliev
ALMATY -- The Kazakh Prosecutor-General's Office has launched an investigation into the book "Godfather-in-Law," written by President Nursultan Nazarbaev's former son-in-law, Rakhat Aliev, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

The book -- which was issued earlier this month in Western Europe in the Russian and German languages -- gives detailed information about the controversial system of power established by Nazarbaev.

Almaty Deputy Prosecutor Bagban Taimbetov said an investigation has been launched in accordance with the law on the "illegal breach of the secrecy of classified communication, telephone conversations, mail, telegraph, and other kinds of communication, commited by a person with the use of his/her position or special technical devices."

The Kazakh Prosecutor-General has also warned nonstate media in Kazakhstan that printing or quoting any excerpts from the "Godfather-in-Law" would lead to criminal charges.

The chief editors of the independent newspapers "Vzglyad" (Glance) and "Respublika" (Republic) -- Igor Vinyavsky and Guzal Bayalinova, respectively -- told RFE/RL that they were asked to visit the prosecutor's office in Almaty, where they were officially warned about the consequences of reprinting parts of Aliev's book.

Aliev was found guilty last year of involvement in kidnapping, extortion, and treason and sentenced to 40 years of jail in absentia. He has been living in a self-imposed exile in Austria since 2007.

Meanwhile, Aliev says authorities in Kazakhstan are creating "wonderful publicity" for his new book by trying to ban it.

Aliev told RFE/RL that the Prosecutor-General's Office told news agencies in Kazakhstan that they had not read the book but were still banning it. Because of that, Aliev says he thinks the main character in the book -- President Nazarbaev -- is the one who ordered that the book be banned.