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Kazakh Activist's Car Destroyed In Suspected Arson Attack

ZHANAOZEN, Kazakhstan – The car of a Kazakh activist has been destroyed in a suspected arson attack in the southwestern town of Zhanaozen.

The activist, Muratbai Zhumaghaliev, told RFE/RL on February 17 that his car was parked in front of his house overnight when the vehicle was set on fire by unknown attackers.

"I am confident that my car was destroyed because of my political views and activities," Zhumaghaliev said.

The activist said he noticed that his car was on fire at around 1.00 a.m.

Zhumaghaliev and his friends found gloves and matches near the car's front wheels, he said, adding that police had opened an investigation into the incident.

Zhumaghaliev has campaigned for the Democratic Party of Kazakhstan ahead of its founding congress scheduled for February 22 in the Central Asian nation's largest city, Almaty.

Kazakh authorities are very sensitive to any dissent or demonstrations in Zhanaozen, where police fatally shot at least 16 people while repressing protests by oil workers in December 2011.

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    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service offers informed and accurate reporting in the Kazakh and Russian languages about issues that matter in Kazakhstan, while providing a dynamic platform for audience engagement and the free exchange of news and ideas.