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.