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Dozens Charged With Terrorism In West Kazakhstan; Nazarbaev Slams OSCE

ATYRAU, Kazakhstan -- Forty-seven people charged with terrorism are expected to face trial in Kazakhstan's western city of Atyrau.

Prosecutor-General's Office official Lazzat Nurmaghambetova told journalists in Atyrau on March 2 that the suspects, all men, had been charged with creating a terrorist group and preparing or carrying out explosions in the city.

Nurmaghambetova said investigations of the suspects had been completed, and that criminal cases had been compiled ahead of expected trials.

Two explosions hit Atyrau last October, and one suspected suicide bomber was killed.

A group called Jund al-Khilafah (Soldiers of the Caliphate), a "brigade" of Islamist fighters based on the Afghan-Pakistani border, claimed credit for the Atyrau bombings in a statement released on jihadist forums.

The suspects now facing trial were arrested after the bombings.

Nazarbaev Slams OSCE

Elsewhere in Kazakhstan, President Nursultan Nazarbaev has come out with harsh criticism of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) -- just 14 months after Kazakhstan finished serving as the chair of the international body.

Speaking to representatives of foreign missions in Astana on March 2, Nazarbaev said his government might not invite OSCE observers to monitor future Kazakh elections.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev
The president denounced OSCE election monitors, saying foreign observers from the group are often "one-sided, and turn into a tool" through which Kazakhstan is pressured by other countries.

No specific countries were mentioned. Nazarbaev also said that "none of Kazakhstan's recommendations has ever been implemented by the OSCE."

OSCE observers said that parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan in January failed to meet basic democratic standards.

Kazakhstan, under Nazarbaev's government, chaired the OSCE in 2010.
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