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Kazakh Opposition Activist Detained For 'Spreading False Information'

A leading Kazakh political activist and government critic has been detained by police in connection with allegedly spreading "false information" during a state of emergency.

A police statement issued on April 18 said Arman Shuraev had used social networks to "repeatedly spread knowingly false information," although it offered no details.

The former television executive turned nationalist politician has often attacked members of President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev's cabinet, while avoiding criticism of the president himself.

According to the police statement, Shuraev could face up to seven years in prison if found guilty. It said his actions had endangered public order during the national coronavirus emergency.

In a Facebook post published on April 18, Shurayev accused a senior official of corruption. In other recent posts he criticized the government's borrowing plans and the cost of building a specialized hospital for coronavirus patients.

Last year, he became a member of the council of national trust, an advisory body set up by Toqaev, but was removed by the president this year along with several other members in what officials said was a planned rotation.

With reporting by Reuters
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