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Kazakh Journalist Fined For Role In Protest

Duvanov being arrested on May 24 (RFE/RL) May 25, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Independent Kazakh journalist Sergey Duvanov has been convicted by an Almaty court of organizing unsanctioned gathering and ordered to pay a fine, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Duvanov was among a small group of protesters who turned out in Almaty on May 24 to express objections to constitutional amendments, approved by the legislature, allowing President Nursultan Nazarbaev to serve an unlimited number of terms in office.

Duvanov, a prominent reporter who has started several media outlets that have been closed following official pressure, was released later the same day.

In an interview today with RFE/RL's Kazakh Service, Duvanov criticized Western countries, including the United States, for "supporting the Kazakh government for the sake of geopolitical interests."

The recent move to secure Nazarbaev's president-for-life status has been condemned by human rights activists.

The U.S.-based Freedom House said on May 24 that in amending the constitution to allow himself an "unlimited reign, President Nazarbayaev joins a growing list of authoritarian leaders worldwide who have extended their terms indefinitely."

Lawmakers on May 18 passed a raft of constitutional amendments that Nazarbaev touted as moves to liberalize the domestic political landscape, and the president signed them into law on May 22.

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

RFE/RL Central Asia Report

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