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Oksana Makushina
Kazakh police interrogated the deputy editor of an opposition newspaper and raided its offices in Almaty over her support for an arrested journalist.

The weekly paper "Golos Respubliki" (Voice of Republic) issued a press release saying security forces confiscated computers and equipment from its offices on February 2 and summoned its deputy editor, Oksana Makushina, to the National Security Committee twice -- on February 1-2.

It said Makushina was questioned regarding a press conference she held on January 30 calling for the immediate release of Igor Vinyavsky, the editor of the Almaty-based "Vzglyad" newspaper.

Vinyavsky has been detained for two months while investigations are being launched into allegations that he was involved in deadly clashes between police and striking oil workers in the country's southwest in December.
Iraq executed 17 convicted criminals in one day this week, the Justice Ministry said, bringing to at least 51 the number of executions so far this year.

A ministry statement said the accused had been convicted of terrorism, armed robbery, kidnapping, and murder.

Ministry statistics show Iraq executed 34 people in January.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay last week called the number of executions in Iraq "terrifying."

She urged the country to halt executions, expressing concern about the transparency of court proceedings and the fairness of the judicial process.

Executions were suspended after Saddam Hussein was ousted in 2003 but reintroduced in 2004 by Iraqi authorities who said the death penalty was needed to combat a wave of sectarian bloodshed and attacks by insurgents.

Compiled from agency reports

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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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