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KNB Gives Kazakh Uranium Company Head New Lawyer

Former KazAtomProm chief Mukhtar Dzhakishev
Former KazAtomProm chief Mukhtar Dzhakishev
ASTANA -- Dzhamilya Dzhakisheva, the wife of the former head of Kazakh uranium producer KazAtomProm, says the Kazakh National Security Service (KNB) has appointed a new lawyer for her husband, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Dzhakisheva told RFE/RL that the KNB presented the new lawyer, Bolat Isataev, to the judge of the Sary-Arka district court in Astana without the consent of her or her husband, Mukhtar Dzhakishev.

Dzhakisheva said Isataev made a statement in which he said their consent regarding his appointment is not required.

She added that she is also concerned by Isataev's statement that he will need only two days to familiarize himself with Dzhakishev's case.

Dzhakishev's scheduled court session on January 18 was postponed because his lawyer, Nurlan Beisekeyev, was hospitalized. The next court hearing is scheduled for January 22.

Dzhakisheva added that she has been denied permission to see her husband for the last two weeks.

Dzhakishev and several of his managers were arrested in May on charges of theft and corruption. They have been held in a KNB jail in Astana since then.

The court hearings began on December 22 and are being held behind closed doors, despite a pledge by the Prosecutor-General Office to hold a transparent trial attended by the media.

Dzhakishev's supporters consider the charges against him and his coworkers to be politically motivated.