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Released Kazakh Journalist Says Case Was Politically Motivated


Kazak journalist Tokbergen Abyev

Kazak journalist Tokbergen Abyev

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- A Kazakh journalist released from jail after serving a three-year prison term says his case was politically motivated and he will fight to clear his name, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Tokbergen Abiev, the former chief editor of the weekly "Law and Justice," was sentenced to three years in jail in 2008 for "giving a bribe to a financial police official to obtain Kazakh financial police internal data illegally."

Abiev was released from jail on May 17.

Abiev shortly after his release that he thinks the case against him was launched by officials who wanted to stop his investigative journalistic activities. "I will continue fighting to prove that my imprisonment was illegal," he said.

Abiev added that he will also try to clarify the circumstances of his colleague Oralghaisha Omarshanova's disappearance.

A leading investigative journalist for "Law and Justice," Omarshanova disappeared in March 2007 while investigating deadly ethnic clashes between Chechens and Kazakhs in the southern Kazakh village of Malovodnoye.

She was also focusing on any possible connection between the violence and the killing in 2006 of alleged criminal figure Sagit Shakputov, who was suspected of colluding with the management of the Kazakh copper-producing company KazakhMys in dubious financial machinations.

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