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Kazakh Police Detain Opposition Activists

Opposition activists were seeking a parliamentary response to accusations made by Kazakh businessman Mukhtar Ablyazov.
ASTANA -- Kazakh police arrested 11 activists from the opposition Algha (Forward) party in Astana today, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

The activists tried to deliver letters to each of the 160 members of the Mazhilis, the lower house of parliament. The letters, written by Algha party Chairman Vladimir Kozlov, urge deputies to respond to Kazakh businessman Mukhtar Ablyazov's public statement accusing Timur Kulibaev -- son-in-law of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev -- of corruption in an energy deal he made with a Chinese company.

The activists were brought to Astana's Esil district police station for interrogation.

Ablyazov left Kazakhstan for London in 2009 after his BTA Bank was taken over by the government. He is wanted by Kazakh authorities for alleged financial mismanagement.

Ablyazov announced in online postings last week that he has urged Chinese officials to investigate a Kazakh-Chinese oil and gas deal that, he said, helped Kulibaev gain millions of dollars illegally.