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ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- A court in Kazakhstan's largest city, Almaty, has suspended the operations of an independent newspaper for three months.

The court also ruled on September 23 that the owners of the "Ashyq alan" (Tribune) weekly must pay a $1,130 fine for "violating the schedule of the periodical’s issuance."

The newspaper's editors insist that their journalists were on vacation between July 10 and August 21 and that's why the newspaper wasn't issue during that time. They say they will appeal the court's decision.

"Ashyq alan" is known for its articles criticizing the authorities.

Last year, Kazakh courts suspended and/or shut down several opposition and independent newspapers and websites after prosecutors requested two opposition groups and dozens of opposition media be designated as extremist.
Azerbaijani journalist Parviz Hashimli (right) with his family (undated)
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has condemned the arrest of an independent Azerbaijani journalist and demanded his immediate release.

In a statement released on September 19, the CPJ said Parviz Hasimli was arrested on fabricated charges, adding that the press in Azerbaijan must be allowed to freely cover the country's October 9 presidential poll.

A journalist with the "Bizim yol" (Our Path) newspaper, Hasimli was charged on September 17 after police allegedly found six guns and ammunition in his house.

On September 18, a court in Baku ruled that Hasimli must stay in pretrial detention for up to two months.

Hasimli insists the guns were planted by the police.

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have accused the Azerbaijani authorities of trying to silence dissent ahead of the presidential election.

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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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