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Kazakh Judge's Sacking For Extremist Ties Upheld By High Court

ASTANA -- The Kazakh Supreme Court has upheld a court decision to fire a judge in western Kazakhstan for his alleged connection to religious extremists, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Aqtobe city court judge Aghyzbek Tolegenov was sacked in late September by the Aqtobe Oblast court's internal control council based on reports that he attends a mosque in Aqtobe regularly and meets with members of alleged terrorist groups, including one called Tablig-i-Jamaat (Society for Spreading Faith).

Kazakh Supreme Court spokeswoman Oksana Peters told RFE/RL on October 17 that the Supreme Court's decision will be sent to the Council of the Supreme Court, which will announce its final decision soon.

Tolegenov told RFE/RL the accusations are baseless. He confirmed that he is a practicing Muslim but denied any contacts with any terrorist group or organization.

Tolegenov also told RFE/RL he will "fight to the end until he is reinstated." He has worked in the judiciary for 18 years, more than 14 of them as a judge.

Maqsat Iliyasuly of the Kazakh Coalition of Defenders of Human Rights and Freedoms told RFE/RL it is clear that the court's decision to sack Tolegenov for his religious views violates article 14 of the Kazakh Constitution, according to which "all Kazakh citizens have equal rights and cannot be discriminated against on the basis of their origin, social and/or employment status, level of wealth, gender, race, ethnicity, language, religion, beliefs, place of residence, and/or other differences."

Read more in Kazakh here