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Kazakhstan: Independent Journalist Beaten

Almaty, 29 August 2002 (RFE/RL) -- A Kazakh independent journalist says he was badly beaten the night of 27 August outside his Almaty apartment by three masked men. A rights group, the International League for Human Rights (ILHR), says Sergei Duvanov, a free-lancer who writes for opposition publications, was hospitalized with skull trauma, a concussion, and various lacerations.

The ILHR quotes Duvanov as saying his assailants beat him with rubber truncheons and told him, "You know what this is for, next time we'll leave you paralyzed." The ILHR says it is concerned the attack was in retaliation for the journalist's criticism of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

Duvanov has recently been criminally charged with insulting the dignity of the president in connection with an article about secret Swiss bank accounts allegedly belonging to Nazarbaev and his family.

Earlier this month, another Kazakh journalist was beaten. That journalist, Artur Platonov, has a political-analysis television program that was critical of the police.