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Kazakh Journalist Detained For Staging Protest

Президент, Конституцияны қайтар!
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WATCH: Yekaterina Belyaeva being detained by Kazakh police in Almaty.

Kazakh police have detained journalist Yekaterina Belyaeva for holding an unsanctioned protest, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Belyaeva, who works for the Almaty-based newspaper "Vzglyad" (Look), came to the city's Independence Square on June 21 and unfolded a sign saying: "President, Give Us Back Our Constitution!"

She told journalists who came to the square that she was protesting the constitutional law on the "Leader of the Nation" that was adopted last week.

The new law bestowed on President Nursultan Nazarbaev the title Leader of the Nation and gave him immunity from prosecution. In addition, his property and that of members of his family cannot be confiscated.

Several police officers took the sign from Belyaeva by force and told her that she did not have permission to stage a protest. Belyaeva answered that she has permission in accordance with Kazakhstan's Constitution, which guarantees freedom of assembly.

Rights activist Ghalym Ageleuov tried to intervene and help Belyaeva, but he was forced by a policeman to the edge of the square. Belyaeva was pushed into a police car and driven away.

Prominent journalist Sergei Duvanov and rights activist Andrei Sviridov were fined for a similar protest action last week.

Kazakhstan currently holds the chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, whose mandate includes such issues as human rights and freedom of the press.