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Latest Issue Of Kazakh Opposition Paper Confiscated

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Police in Almaty have confiscated the latest issue of the opposition weekly "Golos Respubliki" (Voice of the Republic), RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Newspaper spokesman Sergei Zelepukhin told journalists that police stopped the paper's delivery vehicle late on January 13 with thousands of copies of this week's issue.

He said the driver and accompanying staff members were taken to a police station, where they were told they had been detained on suspicion of spreading false information. The individuals were later released, but the newspapers were confiscated.

Zelepukhin said the issue contained articles criticizing the proposed national referendum on prolonging President Nursultan Nazarbaev's term in office until 2020.

The upper and lower chambers of parliament voted today in favor of holding the referendum. A yes vote could allow Nazarbaev to bypass the presidential election due in 2012.

"Golos Respubliki" journalist Oksana Makushina told a press conference in Almaty that just 3,000 copies of the total print-run of 19,000 made their way to newsstands in Almaty.

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