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Russia: Yeltsin Asked To Investigate Bashkir Journalist's Detention

Prague, 4 February 1999 (RFE/RL) -- The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has called on Russian President Boris Yeltsin to investigate the prosecution of a Bashkir journalist.

The committee in a letter faxed to Yeltsin yesterday, says Altaf Galeyev, the former news director of Bashkortostan's only independent radio station, Radio Titan, has been in pretrial detention in Ufa ever since last May 27.

During a raid on the radio's offices that day, police arrested Galeyev for firing several shots in the air with a handgun. He was subsequently charged with "hooliganism" and "illegal use of firearms", which carry prison terms of four to seven years.

The Committee says the charges stem from Galeyev's interviews with the three opposition candidates barred from last June's Bashkir presidential elections, a program accusing Bashkir President Murtaza Rakhimov of corrupt practices, and Radio Titan's rebroadcasts of Radio Liberty and Voice of America.