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Kazakh state-run bodyguard service cancels contract with opposition leader

Kazakh state-run bodyguard service cancels contract with opposition leader

A Kazakh state-run bodyguard service has broken off a contract with a prominent anti-government politician, the opposition said Thursday, alleging government influence behind the move.
The Kuzet service, which is run by the Interior Ministry and is the only such agency in the country whose employees are authorized to carry arms, annulled its contract with Bolat Abilov, co-chairman of the Nagyz Ak Zhol party, because of the agency's move to the capital Astana, said the party's spokesman Aidos Sarimov.
Sarimov said that Kuzet continues to provide its services to other clients in the commercial capital, Almaty.
Sarimov said the move was an apparent attempt to step up pressure on Abilov, who is on trial on charges of abuse of office and embezzlement while he headed an investment fund in the early 1990s. Abilov denies the charges, and has said they are politically motivated.
The Interior Ministry said it had no immediate comment.
Abilov had hired Kuzet guards after the killing of another Nagyz Ak Zhol leader, Altynbek Sarsenbayev, in February 2006.
Abilov, one of the most popular opposition figures, has faced a string of accusations in recent years ranging from slander to fraud, all of which he has denied. In July, Abilov was given a three-year suspended sentence for allegedly assaulting a police officer. He has also been repeatedly fined for alleged slander.
Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has ruled the Central Asian state since before the 1991 Soviet collapse, is criticized for holding up democratic reforms.


Updated : 2021-05-06 09:56 GMT+08:00