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Seitqazy Mataev

ALMATY -- An Almaty court has transferred to house arrest Seitqazy Mataev, the head of the Kazakh Journalists Union and the chairman of the National Press Club.

The Medeu district court ruled on February 24 that Mataev can stay under house arrest while investigations into his case are carried out.

Mataev and his son, Aset Mataev, who is the director of the KazTAG news agency, were detained for questioning on February 22. The latter was released several hours later.

Kazakhstan's Anticorruption Agency has said that Seitqazy Mataev is suspected of embezzlement and tax evasion and may face up to 12 years in jail if convicted.

Mataev pleaded not guilty and said in the courtroom on February 24 that he is "ready to prove his innocence."

It is not clear if Mataev was officially charged.

Rights organizations have said Mataev is being prosecuted on trumped-up charges because of his work as a journalist.

Jailed Azerbaijani lawyer Intigam Aliyev (file photo)

BAKU -- Azerbaijan's Supreme Court has upheld the imprisonment of the Caucasus nation's noted lawyer Intiqam Aliyev.

Aliyev was arrested in August 2014 and sentenced in April 2015 to 7 1/2 years in jail after a court found him guilty of illegal business activity, tax evasion, and abuse of authority.

Aliyev's sentence was upheld by the Court of Appeals in Baku in July 2015.

Aliyev's lawyers and supporters say the charges were retaliation for his professional activities.

Aliyev founded the Legal Education Society in 1998 to provide legal assistance to marginalized groups.

He has represented many Azerbaijani activists and human rights defenders.

His lawyer, Cavad Cavadov told RFE/RL that he plans to appeal the ruling at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Amnesty International has recognized Aliyev as a prisoner of conscience.

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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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