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Zinaida Mukhortova
A Kazakh lawyer who is undergoing forced medical treatment in a psychiatric clinic says she has been told to undergo a new "psychiatric assessment" before any decision is made on her release.

In an exclusive interview with RFE/RL's Kazakh Service on October 8, Zinaida Mukhortova said she is being held among 60 patients in a psychiatric clinic in the central Kazakh town of Balkhash.

Mukhortova, 56, who was forced into nine months of psychiatric treatment last year, says she is mentally healthy and that the legal actions against her are politically motivated.

She says authorities began investigating her mental competence after she filed complaints against a regional governor.

Mukhortova's latest forced psychiatric hospitalization began on August 9.

Doctors say she suffers from delusions.

Human Rights Watch has demanded Mukhortova's release from the clinic.
Pastor Bakhytzhan Kashkumbaev emerging from an Astana jail shortly before he was rearrested on October 8
A Presbyterian pastor in Kazakhstan has been rearrested, minutes after his transfer to house arrest.

Bakhytzhan Kashkumbaev, 67, was arrested in May for "inflicting damages" on one of his parishioners through his sermons.

He spent about a month in a psychiatric clinic during his pretrial detention.

Late on October 7, a court in Astana ruled that Kashkumbaev could be transferred to house arrest due to his poor health.

But on October 8, police rearrested Kashkumbaev on new charges moments after his release from a detention center in Astana.

Kashkumbaev's lawyer, Nurlan Beisekeev, told RFE/RL that the second case against his client is related to alleged extremism.

Kashkumbaev, a Christian convert from Islam, and his supporters insist that the case against him is politically motivated.

Kazakh and international human rights organizations have urged Kazakh authorities to release him.

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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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