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Kazakh Journalist in Hospital after Leaving U.S. Embassy

A journalist wanted by the Kazakh National Security Committee (KNB) has been hospitalized in Almaty after he had agreed to leave the U.S. Embassy office earlier.

Ramazan Esergepov, the owner and editor in chief of the "Alma-Ata Info" weekly, spent the night in the office and then asked for political asylum in the United States. He had managed to escape KNB officers on December 1 and hid himself in the U.S. Embassy's office after KNB officers had tried to take him to the city of Taraz by force to question him regarding an article printed in his newspaper two weeks ago.

Esergepov told RFE/RL's Kazakh Service that he decided to leave the premises of the U.S. Almaty office after embassy officials held talks with the Kazakh Foreign Ministry and were given guarantees that Esergepov would be treated in accordance with Kazakh law.

Later, his wife Raushan said that her husband had been hospitalized with what she called a "pre-heart-attack" condition. She declined to say where he was being treated, though she added that the KNB knows where he is.

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