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The editors of the periodical, which is known for its harsh criticism of the Kazakh authorities, insist the charges are politically motivated.
ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- The trial against an independent Kazakh newspaper has started in Almaty.

"Pravdivaya gazeta" (The Truthful Newspaper) is charged with providing readers with false information about the exact number of its weekly copies, operating during a court-ruled suspension period, and for its failure to adequately address the violations.

The editors of the periodical, which is known for its harsh criticism of the Kazakh authorities, insist the charges are politically motivated.

The newspaper was established nine months ago and has gone through two three-month suspensions and two hefty fines since then.

Last year, the European Parliament adopted a resolution criticizing Astana for its failure to respect political, media, and religious freedoms.
Two burqa-clad Afghan women walk on the outskirts of Herat.
An international rights group says Afghan President Hamid Karzai should not sign a law passed by parliament that would deny women protection from domestic violence and forced marriage.

The parliament passed a "criminal procedure law" last year that experts say contains articles that deny women legal protections.

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Karzai to send the bill back to legislators with amendments.

HRW said the proposed legislation would run counter to a groundbreaking law on Elimination of Violence Against Women passed in 2009, and "follows several other efforts by the Afghan parliament to weaken already inadequate legal protections for women's rights."

Afghanistan's parliament is dominated by conservative clerics and former warlords.

A Karzai spokesman said he could not comment on the president's intentions.

With reporting by AFP

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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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