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Kazakh leader's grandson says he is seeking asylum in Britain

ALMATY (Reuters) - A grandson of Kazakhstan’s powerful former President Nursultan Nazarbayev said on Thursday he was seeking political asylum in Britain, complaining that he was under pressure from his family.

Aisultan Nazarbayev, who now calls himself Aisultan Rakhat, said on Facebook he was already in Britain and he had fallen out with his grandfather and mother, Dariga Nazarbayeva, the speaker of Kazakhstan’s upper house of parliament.

Aisultan Nazarbayev’s Facebook updates have been erratic over the last few years and included a confession to being a former drug addict, an attempt to contact Nazarbayev’s exiled political foe, discussions on religious topics and allegations against numerous members of the oil-rich nation’s elite.

The 29-year-old Sandhurst graduate could not be reached for comment on Thursday. Dariga Nazarbayeva’s press office declined to comment on the matter. Nursultan Nazarbayev’s spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Nazarbayev, 79, resigned last March after running the former Soviet republic for almost 30 years, and endorsed his ally Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as successor, ensuring the latter’s victory in a subsequent election.

Nazarbayev retains wide powers as the head of security council and the leader of the ruling Nur Otan party, and holds the official title of Yelbasy - the national leader.

Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Additional reporting by Tamara Vaal in Nur-Sultan; Editing by Angus MacSwan