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Independent Kazakh Journalist Seeks Asylum At U.S. Embassy


An independent Kazakh journalist has asked for political asylum in the United States after seeking refuge overnight at the U.S. Embassy in Almaty.

Ramazan Esergepov -- the owner and editor in chief of the "Alma-Ata Info" newspaper, was summoned on December 1 to the headquarters of the Kazakh National Security Committee (KNB).

His relatives were informed later that he had been taken to the town of Taraz for questioning in connection with an article printed in his newspaper 10 days ago.

The Kazakh nongovernmental organization Journalists In Need told RFE/RL's Kazakh Service that Esergepov managed to escape from the KNB office and spent the night at the U.S. Embassy.

The U.S. Embassy has confirmed that Esergepov has officially requested asylum.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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