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Kazakh NGOs, Editors Demand Release Of Jailed Journalist

Ramazan Esergepov

Ramazan Esergepov

Two Kazakh nongovernmental organizations and several leading editors are demanding the immediate release of Ramazan Esergepov by the state security service (KNB).

Esergepov, the chief editor of the weekly "Alma-Ata Info," was arrested earlier this month for allegedly disclosing state secrets. "Alma-Ata Info" published leaked internal documents of the Central Asian state's National Security Committee.

Rozlana Taukina, the chairwoman of Journalists in Trouble, told RFE/RL's Kazakh Service that the requests for Esergepov's release were sent to Prime Minister Karim Masimov and the presidential administration. The Kazakh NGO Adil Soz (A Just Word) also signed the request.

Esergepov has issued a statement asking Kazakh political parties to help secure his release and urging them to take steps to reform the KNB.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan has said that Kyle Scott, the deputy chief of the U.S. mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), is concerned over Esergepov's fate.

Kazakhstan is scheduled to chair the OSCE next year. The OSCE is Europe's main human rights watchdog.