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ZHANAOZEN, Kazakhstan -- Another of the six women on hunger strike over a lack of state housing in a western Kazakh town has been hospitalized, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Gulaiym Topaeva was taken to the hospital early today with heart problems. Serik Kazhikanov, a relative, told RFE/RL that Topaeva is in a cardiology center in Zhanaozen.

On January 24, hunger striker Tamara Erghazieva was taken to the hospital after feeling unwell.

Another hunger striker, Damesh Sargulova, told RFE/RL that the four remaining protesting women are continuing their hunger strike, which is taking place in Topaeva's apartment.

The women are demanding that people who have been waiting a long time for state housing be given places to live and that at least one member of their families should be offered employment at a local branch of the KazMunaiGaz energy company.

The strikers told RFE/RL that no government official has met with them since they stopped eating nearly a week ago.

Read in Kazakh here
Belarus journalist Henadz Barbarych (right) was briefly detained today by the KGB. He is pictured here in 2007.
MINSK -- Belarusian journalist Henadz Barbarych was briefly detained by the Committee for State Security (KGB) while interviewing relatives of jailed activists, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Barbarych -- a correspondent for Radio Ratsiya, a station broadcasting in Belarusian to Belarus from neighboring Poland -- was inside the Dzerzhinsky Culture House near the KGB headquarters talking to relatives of activists jailed on December 19 during a postelection protest.

A man approached Barbarych and asked him to drop by the KGB's office. Barbarych later phoned the Association of Belarusian Journalists to report that he was "asked to enter KGB headquarters for a talk, and his documents were taken for verification."

Barbarych was later released. He told RFE/RL that KGB officers asked him to delete from his tape recorder all the interviews he had conducted with relatives of jailed activists, which he did. The KGB then returned his documents and released him.

Hundreds were detained for protesting against alleged fraud in the December 19 presidential election, which returned incumbent Alyaksandr Lukashenka to power.

Read in Belarusian here

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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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