Tony Blair has blood on his hands from his 'consultancy' work with the dictator of Kazakhstan, opposition leaders in the former Soviet state claimed last night.
In an open letter, activists called for the former British premier to resign from his controversial role as an advisor to their president Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The campaigners are part of a growing protest over a bloody Christmas crackdown on sacked oil workers in which at least 14 died and 80 were wounded.
Dubious: Tony Blair and Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev in the capital Astana in November
The Daily Mail revealed in October that Mr Blair had assembled a high-powered team to improve the reputation and business links of the oil and gas-rich central Asian state.
According to one source, the consultancy deal brokered by the ex-premier is worth as much as £8million for the companies involved.
Mr Blair's advisory firm, Tony Blair Associates, has helped him earn as much as £20million since leaving Downing Street in 2007, but a spokesman has insisted he is not profiting from the Kazakhstan deal.
His links with Mr Nazarbayev – who has introduced laws forbidding criticism of himself, and is believed to rig his elections – have roused particular controversy because he began cultivating him a decade ago when the despot made an official visit to London.
The call for Mr Blair to sever links with the regime was made by 50 activists in a letter published in the opposition newspaper Respublika, headlined: 'Blood on Your Hands, Blair!'
The letter goes on: 'It is known that you were an adviser to the bloody dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
'The whole world saw with its own eyes that he used weapons against civilians in his country, trying hard to suppress the riots. The bloody scenario of Libya was repeated in Kazakhstan.
'The leadership of Kazakhstan in peacetime opened fire and shot at unarmed citizens. Such bloody methods are being used in our country since you became an adviser to President Nursultan Nazarbayev.'
Controvertial: Blair's relationship with the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has been criticised by Kazak activists
The activists – young politicians, youth workers and journalists – had made an earlier appeal to Mr Blair to rethink his role.
The latest open letter continues: 'In our previous appeal we said that your support for authoritarianism and dictatorship will badly affect your reputation. Our forecasts, unfortunately, came true.
'We once again urge you to resign from the position of presidential adviser and to stop co-operating with the criminal regime.'
The letter highlighted the case of oil workers from the Mangistau region, whose 'legitimate and fair demands were ignored for many months'.
'There was bloodshed, the blood of innocent citizens of our country. You are an adviser to Kazakhstan's leadership. Why within the last seven months were authorities deaf to the demands of oil workers? And finally, they shot at its citizens?'
The U.S. State Department says it is 'deeply concerned' over the violence and clampdown, sentiments echoed by the EU and human rights groups.
Nazarbayev has blamed his son-in-law Timur Kulibayev – the head of the company that fired the striking oil workers – for the violence. Kulibayev is a friend of Prince Andrew, and bought the prince's home in Windsor for £3million above the asking price.
Mr Blair visited Kazakhstan in January, May and November this year. Former No10 chief of staff Jonathan Powell and ex-spin doctor Alastair Campbell also visited this year.
A spokesman for Mr Blair said: 'Tony Blair's team has been advising on the Kazakhstan government reform programme. He has had no role in this dispute. But the president has promised an inquiry.'