Kazakh president's arch foe arrested in Vienna

VIENNA - Austrian police have arrested Rakhat Aliyev, the Kazakh president's former son-in-law and erstwhile ambassador to Austria, who is accused of murder and running a crime network in the Central Asian country, his lawyer said.

Aliyev, now a vocal critic of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, is wanted in Kazakhstan for the murder of two bankers in 2007 and may face up to 40 years in jail if he is extradited. Vienna has twice refused to extradite him given the human rights situation in the former Soviet republic, but opened its own investigation in 2011 against Aliyev, who now lives in Malta.

He has in the past called the charges politically motivated. "After he voluntarily turned himself in and returned to Austria, he was arrested around 11 p.m. (on Thursday) after we waited for the police at the airport," lawyer Manfred Ainedter told Austrian broadcaster ORF in a radio interview broadcast on Friday.

An arrest warrant from May includes suspicions "from murder to kidnapping, blackmail, coercion, a whole range of allegations, all of which are not valid", he added. Police and prosecutors were not immediately available for comment.

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