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Kazakh Blogger Who Fled To Kyiv Ordered Held 60 Days Pending Extradition Decision


Kazakh blogger Zhanar Akhmet (file photo)

A Kyiv court has ordered a Kazakh blogger who fled to Ukraine after criticizing President Nursultan Nazarbaev's government held under arrest for two months as authorities consider handing her over to Kazakhstan.

The Shevchenko District Court ruled late on November 2 that Zhanar Akhmet must remain in detention for 60 days while a decision on her extradition is made.

Akhmet was detained in Kyiv on October 21, based on a Kazakh arrest warrant that accuses her of fraud, and was initially ordered held for 18 days.

Akhmet fled Kazakhstan in March with her 9-year-old son, saying she feared for her safety if she remained in the Central Asian country.

Akhmet told RFE/RL that she decided to flee when she learned from sources that she could face charges of "organizing an illegal group" that uses the Internet to advocate self-immolation.

Akhmet previously faced a series of court hearings in Almaty for alleged legal violations, including jaywalking, that she considered to be harassment by Kazakh authorities.

She says all of the accusations against her have been politically motivated retaliation for her writing.

At least four other Kazakh opposition and rights activists -- Ermek Narymbaev, Moldir Adilova, Aidos Sadyqov, and Natalya Sadyqova -- also have fled to Ukraine in recent years.

Nazarbaev, 77, has held power in Kazakhstan since before the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

He has established tight control over politics and the media and tolerates little dissent in the oil-producing country of 18 million.

Based on reporting by gordonua.com and zn.ua
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