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Trial Of Four Kazakh Activists Charged With Supporting Banned Opposition Movement Adjourned

Zhazira Demeuova (right) and Gulzipa Zhaukerova talk in the courtroom during the trial in Almaty on November 6.
Zhazira Demeuova (right) and Gulzipa Zhaukerova talk in the courtroom during the trial in Almaty on November 6.

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- The trial of four Kazakh activists charged with supporting a banned opposition movement was adjourned immediately after it started on November 6.

Anuar Ashiraliev and three women, Oksana Shevchuk, Gulzipa Zhaukerova, and Zhazira Demeuova, were arrested in July for attending rallies in May to protest an early presidential election in Kazakhstan as well as the renaming of the capital, Astana, as Nur-Sultan after former President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

Demeuova was later transferred to house arrest.

The arrest of the three women, who are all mothers of young children, prompted an outcry in Kazakhstan.

Investigators have charged that the four activists are members or supporters of the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan, a banned political party led by the self-exiled former banker and businessman Mukhtar Ablyazov.

Ablyazov, who has lived abroad since 2009, is an outspoken opponent of Kazakhstan’s governing elite.

In 2018, a court in the Kazakh capital banned the group as an extremist organization.

The trial was adjourned until November 13 after the defendants' lawyers recused Judge Quralai Darkhanova because she banned journalists from the courtroom and sent them to another room, where they could follow the hearing via a monitor.

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