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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Relatives of Slain Politician Detained by Kazakh Police

ReutersKazakh riot police detaining an opposition protester Wednesday in Almaty.
ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Police detained some two dozen relatives and supporters of a slain Kazakh opposition leader Wednesday as they attempted to stage a demonstration in his memory in Almaty, the commercial capital.

Police say the Feb. 11 abduction and killing of Altynbek Sarsenbayev, of the opposition Nagyz Ak Zhol party, along with his bodyguard and driver, was organized out of personal enmity by a senior parliament official. The official later was arrested along with five security officers and several more suspects, but Sarsenbayev's family and opposition groups dismiss the theory. They say the slaying was politically motivated and vowed to hold monthly peaceful demonstrations to demand an impartial investigation.

Police cordoned off Respublika Square on Wednesday and forced Sarsenbayev's relatives, including two brothers, and opposition activists into buses and took them to a police station. They all could face fines or up to 15 days in jail for holding an unauthorized rally. City police officials had no comment.

 A journalist with embattled Kazakh opposition newspaper Ayna Plyus was severely beaten by several men, the paper's editor said Wednesday. It was the third time the journalist had been attacked in four years.

Ermurat Bapi said Kenzhegali Aitbakiyev, 32, was attacked and beaten unconscious Sunday evening in Almaty by about 10 men. He was hospitalized with a broken jaw, chin and nose, a concussion and multiple bruises.

"I do not rule out that the forces behind the attack, maybe authorities, are interested in pushing us to give up the paper," Bapi said. A police spokesman said he had no information.