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Kazakh Authorities Seize Another Opposition Newspaper

(RFE/RL) Almaty, 3 November 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Kazakh authorities today seized the entire run of the latest issue of an opposition newspaper -- the second such seizure in the past month.

The Almaty prosecutor's office released a statement saying that the "Juma Times" newspaper was seized for carrying "deliberately false" information that harmed the reputation of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

The prosecutor's office says the information was meant to affect the outcome of Kazakhstan's 4 December presidential election. It says prosecutors have launched proceedings against the head of the paper.

Bakhytgul Makimbay, the deputy editor in chief of the newspaper, tells RFE/RL's Kazakh Service that they invited representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to witness the seizure.

"Today in the morning the distributors of our newspaper came to Dauir publishing house. When the first car was leaving the publishing house, 30 policemen in road patrol cars arrived and confiscated copies of our newspaper from the distributor's car," Makimbay said. "We have invited international observers, representatives of OSCE mission, and journalists immediately so that they could witness the process. We are not able to distribute our newspaper for the second week now."

Last month, authorities seized tens of thousands of copies of the opposition newspaper "Svoboda Slova" after it reported about the business practices of Nazarbaev's youngest daughter, Alia Nazarbaeva.

The official reason for that seizure was that "Svoboda Slova" had damaged the honor and dignity of the president.

(With local agencies)

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