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Kazakh Prosecutors Seek 'Freedom Limitation' For Independent Journalist Accused Of Money Laundering

Kazakh journalist Zhanbolat Mamai (file photo)
Kazakh journalist Zhanbolat Mamai (file photo)

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Prosecutors in the high-profile trial of a Kazakh journalist known for his criticism of the government is seeking four years of "freedom limitation" -- a suspended sentence with parole-like restrictions -- for the defendant.

The prosecutor at the trial also asked the Almaty court on September 4 to confiscate Zhanbolat Mamai's property and ban him from journalistic activities.

Mamai, acting chief editor of the independent Sayasi Qalam-Tribuna (The Political Pen-Tribune) newspaper went on trial on August 14.

Investigators say Mamai was involved in laundering money "stolen" by Kazakhstan's fugitive tycoon Mukhtar Ablyazov.

Mamai denied any connection with Ablyazov and said the case against him is politically motivated.

Ablyazov, a former head of Kazakhstan's BTA bank, who is currently living abroad, is a major opponent of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

He is wanted by Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine on suspicion of embezzling some $5 billion. Ablyazov denies the accusations, saying they are politically motivated.