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Kazakh Political Parties Demand Release Of Jailed Journalist

Ramazan Esergepov
Ramazan Esergepov
Several political parties in Kazakhstan have issued a statement demanding the immediate release of newspaper editor Ramazan Esergepov by the state security service (KNB).

RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports that leaders from six of the country's 10 officially registered political parties have signed the statement.

Esergepov, the chief editor of the weekly "Alma-Ata Info," was arrested on January 6 for allegedly disclosing state secrets in articles printed in his newspaper.

On January 27, Esergepov issued a statement asking Kazakh political parties to help secure his release and urging them to take steps to reform the KNB.

Rozlana Taukina, the chairwoman of Journalists in Trouble, told RFE/RL that Esergepov's arrest contradicts the constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech.

Kazakhstan is scheduled to chair the pan-European human rights watchdog, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, in 2010.