Kazakh activist accuses police of pressuring relative to confess killing

A Kazakh opposition activist accused authorities Tuesday of pressuring a relative to confess to raping and killing her teenage daughter, who had gone missing before presidential elections. The opposition linked the Oct. 31 disappearance of Yelena Nikitina's 14-year-old daughter Oksana to her refusal to inform authorities on the opposition election campaign in the Dec. 4 presidential election. Oksana's body was found Dec. 20 not far from her Almaty home. Nikitina said Tuesday that police had arrested her 17-year-old brother, Maxim Altynnikov, as the main suspect in the killing. She alleged he was being used to cover up somebody else's crime. Her lawyer, Andrei Yakunin, alleged Altynnikov had not been given access to his lawyer and had complained of strong pressure on him to confess to the crime.

Nikitina worked at a campaign office of opposition leader Zharmakhan Tuyakbai, who was the main challenger to long-ruling President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The opposition said that in the week prior to her daughter's disappearance, Nikitina had been visited daily by police, who tried to coerce her with money and threats, to inform authorities about Tuyakbai's presidential campaign. Nikitina refused, it said. Nazarbayev overwhelmingly won the Dec. 4 vote, which was criticized by Western observers as flawed, reports the AP. N.U.

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