Trial of Kazakh opposition leader opens

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Aug. 16, 2012, 10:21 a.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Associated Press

The trial of Vladimir Kozlov, Kazakhstan's most vocal opposition leader, on charges of seeking to overthrow the government has begun.

Associated Press

Associated Press

ALMATY — The trial of Kazakhstan's most vocal opposition leader on charges of seeking to overthrow the government has begun.

Details of the charges against Vladimir Kozlov were not made public ahead of the trial opening Thursday, but appear to be related to last December's violence in the town of Zhanozen, where at least 14 people died after police opened fire on striking oil workers.

Kozlov heads the political party Alga, which is an unwavering critic of President Nursultan Nazarbayev who has led Kazakhstan since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

Nazarbayev thoroughly dominates Kazakhstan's political life and was re-elected last year with 95 percent of the vote. The election was sharply criticized by international observers for ballot-stuffing, voter intimidation and a lack of transparency.

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