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Andrei Klimonov, a correspondent for RFE/RL's Kazakh Service, was found dead in his home in the northwestern town of Aqtobe today.

His family says he died in his sleep.

Klimonov, 36, joined RFE/RL last year as a freelance correspondent for the Kazakh Service's website. He had previously worked for other independent Kazakh media organizations, including the "Aqtobe Times" newspaper in western Kazakhstan.

Klimonov had endured repeated threats and incidents of harassment in the last several years of his life because of his work as a journalist and human rights activist.

In one instance, he suffered a concussion after being beaten by five unknown attackers following anonymous threats urging him to stop writing newspaper articles.

Last year, Klimonov was severely injured when he jumped from his second-floor apartment after receiving a threatening telephone call concerning his wife and son, who had gone for a walk.

Believing they were in danger in the courtyard below, he jumped, fracturing his spine. His wife and son were not harmed in the incident.

A report is expected soon on the exact cause of Klimonov's death.

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