Kazakhstan Bans Book About President By Ex-son-in-law

May 25, 2009. Nasdaq. ASTANA. 

A book about Kazakhstan’s president by his former son-in-law has been banned from publication or import on the grounds it contains “state secrets”, prosecutors said Monday.

The memoirs entitled “Godfather-in-law” by Rakhat Aliev, a former KGB official and deputy foreign minister of the energy-rich, ex-Soviet central Asian country, are already on sale in Austria, where Aliev lives in exile.

The book, also on sale in Germany and Switzerland in both German and Russian, according to the author’s web site, accuses President Nursultan Nazarbayev of corruption and repression of political opponents.

The author was sentenced in his absence last year to 40 years imprisonment, having been charged with kidnapping, murder and an attempted coup on Astana’s leader, who has been in power locally since Soviet days.

However, Kazakh authorities said they will not prosecute individuals for reading the text, concentrating instead on the book industry, the prosecutors’ statement said.

Nazarbayev, 68, has clung to power through a string of referendums and elections, often criticized by Western observers.

Emphasizing his ambition, Astana’s main landmark is a lollipop-shaped column crowned by a golden globe, in which visitors can place their own hand in a mold of the president’s hand, prompting a burst of prerecorded song composed by Nazarbayev.



Distribution of Godfather-in-Law book is banned in Kazakhstan, but reading is not, Prosecutor’s Office

Astana. May 26. Interfax-Kazakhstan

Assumptions disseminated by some media that the reading of Rakhat Aliyev’s book “Godfather-in-law” is prosecuted by law is not true, Kazakhstan Prosecutor General said.

“Comments of the spokesman of the General Prosecutor’s Office that the divulgence of state secret or any other classified material in Aliyev’s book constituted a legal offence, were interpreted by some media as the ban on reading the book. Such assumption is not true,” General Prosecutor’s Office stated.

“Charges may be imposed for distribution or smuggling of the book to Kazakhstani,” the prosecutor’s office said.

A few days ago Kazakhstan General Prosecutor’s Office brought charges against the former high-ranking state official, Rakhat Aliyev, for divulging state secrets and violating the privacy of correspondence and telephone talks through abuse of power and illegal use of tapping devises.

As reported, Aliyev issued the book in May to expose “multiple secrets” of the political Astana. The first copies of the book in translation are already available on bookstore shelves in Europe.

Rakhat Aliyev was a son-in-law of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev until mid-2007. He served in various Kazakh security agencies in the 1990s and as a diplomat from 2002 to 2007. Until recently, he served as a Kazakh ambassador to Austria. He was dismissed from diplomatic service and charged with a number of serious crimes, including high treason, a coup attempt, and abduction, and was sentenced to 40 years in prison in absentia in 2007.

Rakhat Aliyev has been hiding abroad since spring 2007.