Mukhtar Dzhakishev is by all accounts in miserable shape. Languishing in a “harsh” Kazakhstan prison colony that was once part of Stalin’s gulag system, he suffers from hypertension, hardened arteries and kidney disease likely triggered by a severe beating.
“His life is constantly at risk,” one human-rights group warned in September, as it urged the international community to advocate on Dzakishev’s behalf.
Largely unable to communicate with the outside world, the former head of Kazakhstan’s state uranium conglomerate has made one thing clear: he blames his arrest and 14-year prison term at least in part on a Canadian company’s corporate dealings.
More specifically, Dzakishev suspects he was jailed because of his opposition to the Russian takeover of a Toronto-based uranium company with connections to Bill Clinton, an eight-year-old controversy that has once again become political fodder in America.
The Russians “destroyed the company — Kazatomprom — my father once built from nothing, destroyed our lives … and are taking what belongs to the Kazakh people,” his daughter, Aigerim Dzhakishev, told the National Post. “Unfortunately our (Kazakhstan) president is in on it with Putin, so there is nothing anyone can do about it.”