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Kazakhstan Says Reading 'Banned' Book No Longer Illegal

Rakhat Aliyev's book "Godfather-In-Law"
Rakhat Aliyev's book "Godfather-In-Law"
ASTANA -- Kazakhstan's Prosecutor-General's Office has announced that people are allowed to read the previously banned book about President Nursultan Nazarbaev but not allowed to distribute it, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

The book, "Godfather-In-Law," written by Nazarbaev's former son-in-law, Rakhat Aliev, was published in Berlin earlier this month.

The book reveals many inside details on the controversial system of power created in Kazakhstan by Nazarbaev as well as details about his private life.

The book was officially banned in Kazakhstan last week and authorities said any Kazakh citizen in possession of the book was breaking the law.

But on May 25, the Prosecutor-General's Office said it is legal to read the book, but illegal to bring it into Kazakhstan or to distribute it.

Aliev has been living in self-imposed exile in Vienna since 2007.

Last year he was tried in Kazakhstan in absentia and sentenced to 40 years in jail for extortion, kidnapping, and treason. Aliev says the verdict and charges against him are politically motivated.