Kazakhstan takes Aliyev-linked TV station off air
Friday, May 25th, 2007

Kazakh law enforcement agencies yesterday took off the air a television channel controlled by Rakhat Aliyev, the powerful son-in-law of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the Kazakhstan Today news agency reported. Kazakhstan Today, which also belongs to Aliyev, said the authorities had also shut down the Karavan newspaper, another Aliyev asset, due to violations of Kazakh law. Both suspensions applied for three months, it said.

The move came a day after Nazarbayev ordered police to investigate Aliyev on suspicion of kidnapping two senior bankers in what analysts said was part of the Kazakh leader’s bid to tighten control in the oil-rich Central Asian state. Police and the general prosecutor’s office were not available for comment.

“This is complete lawlessness,” Karavan chief editor Alexander Shukhov told Kazakhstan Today. ”We are dealing with the fact of police despotism which is on the brink of a police coup.” The channel where KTK used to be showed a test card and played soothing background music. No one at the Karavan newspaper was picking up the telephone. Aliyev, Kazakhstan’s ambassador to Vienna, has not been available for comment. The Kazakh embassy in Vienna has declined to comment on the matter.

(Source: Reuters)