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Kazakh Newspaper Editor Continues Hunger Strike

Ramazan Esergepov in December 2008
Ramazan Esergepov in December 2008
Ramazan Esergepov, editor in chief of the "Alma-Ata Info" newspaper, is continuing his hunger strike in National Security Committee (KNB) custody and refusing to be interrogated.

His wife, Raushan Esergepova, told RFE/RL's Kazakh Service that her husband is insisting that a security service other than the KNB conduct the investigation into his case, because the KNB "has its own interest in this case."

Esergepov is being held in solitary confinement in the southern city of Taraz, where he was taken after being arrested by masked KNB officers on January 6 from a hospital in Almaty where he was being treated for heart problems.

Kazakh officials accuse him of revealing state secrets in an article printed in his weekly in November that alleged corruption among Taraz authorities.

Rozlana Taukina, the president of the NGO Journalists in Trouble, believes that Esergepov's life is in danger as he suffers from heart disease. Taukina said that Esergepov is refusing medical aid because he is afraid of being falsely treated.