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A correspondent with Kazakhstan's independent "Svoboda Slova" ("Freedom of Speech") newspaper has been severely beaten by unknown attackers in the northwestern city of Aqtobe.

The Almaty-based media rights organization, Adil Soz (A Just Word), announced on August 21 that Igor Larra was assaulted by four men who beat him with a metal rod.

Larra said he sustained wounds to his scalp and lost consciousness after the attack late on August 20.

He said the assailants did not take his wallet or any of his journalistic equipment.

Larra believes the attack is connected with his recent reports criticizing the Aqtobe region's governor.

He managed to reach police station after being beaten, and he reported the incident.

Larra said the police promised to contact him on August 21 and arrange a medical examination, but this did not materialize.

Based on reporting by and Interfax
The Young Democrats is a youth wing of the opposition United Civic Party. (file photo)
MINSK -- The Supreme Court of Belarus has upheld the Justice Ministry's decision not to officially register an opposition group.

Representatives of the Young Democrats political group told journalists that they lost their appeal on August 21.

The Young Democrats is a youth wing of the opposition United Civic Party (AHP).

The Justice Ministry refused to register the group in June, saying its registration documents contained mistakes.

The AHP was established and officially registered in 1995.

Its members take part in elections, but do not have a single seat in the parliament.

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, who has been running the country since 1994, has been criticized by domestic and international rights organization for his authoritarian rule.

With reporting by BelaPAN

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