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Kazakhstan: Opposition Journalist Appeals Rape Conviction


Almaty, 10 February 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Lawyers for Kazakh opposition journalist Sergei Duvanov today said they have filed an appeal against his rape conviction, which he and human rights activists have called politically motivated. Duvanov was sentenced last month to 3 1/2 years in prison for raping a 14-year-old girl. Duvanov said he was drugged and unconscious at the time of the alleged attack.

Lawyer Vitalii Voronov said Sergei Duvanov's defense team on 7 February appealed to the Almaty regional court demanding Duvanov be acquitted and his sentence be overturned for lack of evidence.

Duvanov, an opposition activist, was targeted by another criminal investigation last year on allegations of insulting the honor and dignity of President Nursultan Nazarbaev after he wrote a series of critical articles exploring allegations of corruption against the president and his inner circle.

Prosecutors have also appealed, demanding that Duvanov's prison term be extended to seven years.

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