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Nazarbayev's Relative Out on Bail

A powerful son-in-law of Kazakhstan's president -- wanted in his homeland in connection with a kidnapping -- was released on bail Sunday, two days after being arrested by Austrian police.

Rakhat Aliyev was released on a 1 million euro ($1.3 million) bail but must remain in Austria and continue to make himself available for extradition proceedings, Gerhard Jarosch, a spokesman for the Vienna public prosecutor's office, told the Austria Press Agency.

Aliyev, who was the Kazakh ambassador to Austria before he was dismissed a week ago, is no longer in the hospital, Jarosch said. He was hospitalized after complaining of chest pains shortly after being taken into custody Friday afternoon. Police said he was arrested after a hair appointment.

Aliyev appealed to Austrian authorities not to extradite him, saying he hoped to obtain Austrian citizenship and contending that his life would be in danger if he were returned to his homeland, according to an interview in a magazine that will appear on newsstands Monday.

"Austria must not deliver me to a system under which my life and the lives of my family are endangered," he told Austria's Profil. His wife and family are in Kazakhstan.

Rights group Amnesty International urged Austrian authorities on Saturday not to send Aliyev back, citing persistent and "frightening" allegations of torture and the country's death penalty.

"We raise our voices against extradition," said Heinz Patzelt, who runs Amnesty's Austria office.

Aliyev said he believed his father-in-law, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, issued the international warrant for his arrest because he had publicly challenged Nazarbayev and had declared his intentions to challenge him for the presidency in 2012. "The president told me over and over: 'This is my country. Everyone does what I want, and you are the only one who does not obey me,'" Aliyev told Profil.

"Right now, we are presenting an image that confirms all the cliches in the film 'Borat,'" he said, the magazine reported. British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's film, "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan," depicts the nation as bigoted and backward.

Aliyev, who is married to Nazarbayev's daughter Dariga, is suspected of an attempt to unseat his father-in-law in 2001 and recently advocated the establishment of a monarchy in Kazakhstan. He rejected the abduction allegations, saying they were fabricated on Nazarbayev's orders. "I don't resist an investigation. I have nothing to hide," he told Profil.

(The Moscow Times 04.vi.07)

 
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