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Another Independent Kazakh Newspaper Faces Closure

BTA bank has filed charges against the newspaper
BTA bank has filed charges against the newspaper
ALMATY -- The independent Kazakh weekly "Respublika" is facing closure after a bank announced it was filing charges against it, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

"Respublika" editors and correspondents told journalists in Almaty on August 25 that the recently appointed management at the BTA bank filed a lawsuit against the paper, accusing it of printing false information about the bank's activities.

Bank officials are demanding more than $530,000 from the newspaper as compensation for "moral damage."

The editors at "Respublika" have said the lawsuit is politically motivated, and that they could not afford to pay the fine if the court rules in favor of the bank and that the newspaper would have to be shut down.

"Respublika" lawyer Sergei Uktin told RFE/RL that the judge has refused his request to hold a formal examination by experts of the articles in question.

Last week the Kazakh opposition newspaper "Taszharghan" announced its likely closure caused by the inability to pay similar compensation for the "moral damage" it allegedly caused to a parliament member.