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Kazakhstan: U.S. Concerned About Jailed Journalist

Washington, 13 November 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. government says it has expressed its concern again to Kazakhstan over the jailing of opposition journalist Sergei Duvanov. Duvanov was arrested last month on a charge of raping a teenage girl. He says he was set up because of his critical reporting. Duvanov staged a two-week hunger strike to protest his detention.

In Washington, D.C., U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said yesterday the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush has expressed its concern about Duvanov's detention to the Kazakh government: "We've noted our concerns about the state of the media [in Kazakhstan], the apparent harassment of independent media. It's the same journalist who was brutally beaten by unknown assailants in August. So we've frequently raised those concerns with the Kazakhstani authorities."

Duvanov's weekly publication has reported that Kazakhstan's president, Nursultan Nazarbaev, and his associates withdrew government money to Swiss banks for their personal use. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe says it is concerned that Duvanov is being persecuted for his reporting.