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Kazakh 'Public Commission' Not Allowed To Visit Restive Cities

Kazakh opposition leader Amirzhan Kosanov
Kazakh opposition leader Amirzhan Kosanov
AQTAU, Kazakhstan -- Members of a newly established public commission tasked with investigating deadly shootings in western Kazakhstan have been prevented from visiting the cities of Zhetibai and Zhanaozen, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Commission member Amirzhan Qosanov told RFE/RL that the commission arrived on December 21 in Aqtau, the capital of Manghystau Oblast, and obtained permission to visit Zhanaozen, where at least 14 people were killed and 99 injured during the violent dispersal of striking oil workers by police and security forces on December 16.

Qosanov said that on their way to Zhanaozen they received information that a mass protest was being held in Zhetibai, another town in Manghystau, where hundreds of oil workers refused to go to work after the violent events in Zhanaozen.

"When we started going toward Zhetibai some traffic police stopped us, took our driver's license, and ordered us to return to Aqtau," Qosanov said.

The public commission to investigate the shootings in Zhanaozen was established on December 20 in Almaty by opposition Azat Social Democratic party head Bola Abilov, unregistered opposition Algha (Forward) party leaders Amirzhan Qosanov and Vladimir Kozlov, chief editor Gulzhan Erghalieva, and Rukhaniyat party member Mukhtar Taizhan.

Read more in Kazakh here

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