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House Arrest Ordered For Pregnant Woman Accused Of Funding Nazarbaev Foe


Mukhtar Ablyazov

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- A court in Kazakhstan has imposed house arrest on a woman who is suspected of giving financial backing to an opposition political movement established by Mukhtar Ablyazov, a fugitive critic of President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

The court ordered house arrest for Aqmaral Tobylova, a resident of Almaty, on March 15. Relatives said that Tobylova, 28, is pregnant.

Tobylova was detained on March 13, the day a separate court ruled that Ablyazov's Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK) is an extremist group, saying it "propagates the forcible change of Kazakhstan’s constitutional order."

Officials have not disclosed details about the allegations against Tobylova.

A senior prosecutor, Erlan Abaev, told journalists at the time that criminal cases had been launched against several DVK members across Kazakhstan on charges of inciting social discord and making public calls for the seizure of power.

Ablyazov, a vocal foe of Nazarbaev, and several other Kazakh opposition figures living abroad announced the creation of the DVK movement in April 2017, saying its goal would be "democratic reforms in Kazakhstan."

Wanted by Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine on suspicion of embezzling some $5 billion, Ablyazov has been living abroad since 2009. He denies any wrongdoing and contends that the case against him is politically motivated.

In June, a court in Kazakhstan sentenced Ablyazov to 20 years in prison in absentia after convicting him of organizing and leading a criminal group, abuse of office, embezzlement, and financial mismanagement.

Opponents and rights groups say that Nazarbaev, who has held power in the Central Asian nation since before the 1991 Soviet breakup, has taken systematic steps to suppress dissent and sideline potential opponents.


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