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High-Profile Terror Trial Starts In Kazakhstan

AQTOBE, Kazakhstan -- A high-profile trial against alleged Islamic terrorists and their supporters has started in northwestern Kazakhstan.

Preliminary hearings against 29 defendants started in the city of Aqtobe on October 18.

Nine of them were charged with terrorism, murder, organizing and taking part in a terrorist group, and illegal possession and use of firearms.

Eighteen defendants were charged with failing to report planned terrorist acts.

The other two were charged with harboring criminals.

In June, Kazakh authorities said a group of 25 alleged Islamic militants carried out a series of attacks that killed five civilians and three members of Kazakhstan's security forces in Aqtobe.

Security forces killed 18 gunmen and arrested several others.

President Nursultan Nazarbaev has said the attacks were carried out by followers of Salafi Islam.

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    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

    RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service, established in 1953, operates out of bureaus in Kazakhstan’s capital city, Nur-Sultan, and in the largest city, Almaty, serving as an independent, alternative source of local, regional, and national news for millions of residents in a country where the government overwhelmingly seeks to control the press.