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Kazakh Deputy Demands Probe Into Attack On Journalist

Astana, 13 January 2004 (RFE/RL) -- A Kazakh deputy today called for a parliamentary inquiry after a local journalist was beaten up during a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Deputy Serikbai Alibaev called for the lower house of parliament to inquire into the attack on Zhuldyz Toleuova, who works for the U.S.-funded station Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Alibaev said media repression by Kazakh authorities may have been the reason for the attack late Saturday (10 January).

Colleagues of Toleuova said she suffered head injuries and a broken nose and lost consciousness during the attack while Putin was visiting Astana. The director of the radio station's Astana office, Toleutai Damiev, said however that not enough evidence has been produced to reach a definite conclusion.

A number of opposition journalists have been beaten in the past after failing to follow the authorities' line.