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Kazakh Journalist Faces Libel Suit

ZHEZQAZGHAN, Kazakhstan – A city court in Zhezqazghan, central Kazakhstan, has started hearings in a libel lawsuit against Vladimir Prutik, the editor in chief of "Nashe Vremya" (Our Time), RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Maksut Omarov, the director of a subsidiary of KazakhMys Corporation, filed the lawsuit accusing Prutik of "hurting his dignity and business reputation" in two articles printed in “Nashe Vremya” last month. Omarov is demanding the equivalent of $6,700 from Prutik as compensation.

The articles alleged that KazakhMys, a major copper producer with links to Kazakhstan's top officials, was involved in illegal hunting and poaching near Kopkol and Barakol lakes.

Prutik insists that his articles were based upon documents showing numerous violations of Kazakhstan’s environmental laws.