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U.S. Diplomat Urges Fair Trial For Kazakh Opposition Leader

Vladimir Kozlov
Visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake has said in Almaty that the United States will closely follow the fate of a Kazakh opposition leader whose trial starts August 16.

The U.S. diplomat expressed his hope that the upcoming trial of Vladimir Kozlov is conducted fairly and does not set back democratic reforms in Kazakhstan.

The leader of the unregistered opposition Algha (Forward) party, Kozlov was arrested in January and charged with fomenting unrest in the town of Zhanaozen, where police shot 16 people dead during clashes between law enforcement officers and striking oil workers in mid-December.

Kozlov and his supporters deny the charges, saying the case is politically motivated.

Based on reporting by AP and Interfax