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US Embassy expresses its concern in the light of the recent events in Almaty

The U.S. Embassy expresses its surprise and concern over three developments during the past 72 hours in Almaty.

First, on March 27 Mukhtar Ablyazov, a member of Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan, was detained by the Financial Police. While the Embassy cannot comment on the veracity of the charges against Mr. Ablyazov, we urge that he be released from pre-trial detention.

Second, on March 29, the Almaty branches of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Procurator Generalís Office searched the Astana Hotel for Galymzhan Zhakiyanov, one of the founding members of Democratic Choice, raising serious concerns that his arrest might also be imminent.

Third, on March 29, the Tan television station's feeder cable to the TV transmission tower in Almaty was severed. Tanís independent programming now will be off the air for several days while the damage is being repaired.

Taken together, the actions suggest an effort to intimidate political opposition leaders and the independent media. We urge Kazakhstan's political leadership to investigate these events and take appropriate action to protect and advance democratic development, a free press, and the rule of law.

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