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Kazakh Senators Approve Controversial Citizenship Bill


Kazakhs could be stripped of citizenship if they are convicted of organizing or joining terrorist groups.

Kazakhstan's upper house of parliament, the Senate, has approved a controversial bill that would enable authorities to strip "terrorists" of their citizenship.

The Senate approved the proposed legislation on June 22 and sent it to President Nursultan Nazarbaev for ratification.

The bill was approved by the parliament's lower chamber, the Mazhilis, in May.

Under the bill, Kazakhs could be stripped of citizenship if they are convicted of organizing or joining terrorist groups, posing a threat to the Central Asian country's "vitally important interests," or plotting to kill the president, among other offenses.

Critics say the legislation might be used against many opposition politicians, some of whom have been living in self-imposed exile abroad, as the definition of "vitally important interests of Kazakhstan" is very vague.

Nazarbaev, 76, has been in power since 1989, two years before Kazakhstan gained independence in the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Based on reporting by TASS and Interfax
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