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Wednesday 17 July 2019

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Ingush activist Zarifa Sautiyeva (file photo)

NALCHIK, Russia -- A court in Kabardino-Balkaria has placed Ingush activist Zarifa Sautiyeva in pretrial detention.

Sautiyeva was charged with attacking a police officer during unsanctioned rallies in Russia's North Caucasus region of Ingushetia against a controversial border deal with the neighboring region of Chechnya.

She was detained on July 12 in North Ossetia and transferred to Kabardino-Balkaria later.

The Nalchik City Court on July 16 ruled that Sautiyeva, a member of the Ingush National Unity Committee, must remain in pretrial detention until September 11.

On March 26, an authorized protest was held in Ingushetia's capital, Magas, to protest a closed-door deal reached in September to settle an Ingush-Chechen border dispute.

The protest continued the following day without the authorities’ permission and was violently dispersed by police. More than 50 people were detained and charges were filed against at least 10 people.

Sautiyeva told RFE/RL in March that police "charged" against the demonstrators, using rubber batons and shields, forcing protesters to use chairs brought to the scene for elderly people and other items to repel the attacks.

Ingush opponents of the deal say that Ingush land is being unjustly handed over to Chechnya, whose strongman leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, has been accused of interfering in the affairs of neighboring Ingushetia and Daghestan.

Pakistani journalists marked World Press Freedom Day in Hyderabad on May 3,

Journalists in Pakistan have staged demonstrations across the country to denounce censorship by the country's powerful military and security services, layoffs due to budget cuts, and months-long delays in wage payments.

The protests on July 16 are spearheaded by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists to fight “unprecedented censorship.”

Afzal Butt, president of the union, said the rallies are only the "beginning of a protest movement."

"We have launched a movement for the rights of journalists from today," Butt said.

"Around 5,000 journalists have lost their jobs in the last eight months and we believe it is a continuation of censorship," Butt said.

The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) last week blasted a decision by Pakistani authorities to suspend three TV news channels from cable networks for broadcasting an opposition figure’s news conference.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in a report released in September that the climate for press freedom in Pakistan was deteriorating as the country's army "quietly, but effectively" restricts reporting through "intimidation" and other means.

Pakistan ranks 142nd out of 180 countries listed on RSF’s World Press Freedom Index.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa

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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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