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Kazakh Rights Activists Question Journalist's Guilty Verdict

Ramazan Esergepov
Ramazan Esergepov
Kazakh rights activists are calling unjust the guilty verdict against Ramazan Esergepov, the owner and chief editor of the weekly newspaper "Alma-Ata Info," RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Esergepov was found guilty of revealing state secrets in his newspaper and sentenced to three years in jail on August 8.

Former Kazakh Supreme Court Judge Utegen Iskhakov said the judge in Esergepov's case, Azamat Tlepov, violated a number of norms during the trial and therefore the whole case should be retried.

Iskhakov said one of the worst moves by the judge was his decision to announce the verdict behind closed doors.

Almaty-based human rights activist Andrei Sviridov said at a press conference that the judge's violations of Kazakh laws automatically makes Esergepov's verdict illegitimate.

The chairwoman of the NGO Kazakhstan's Journalists in Trouble, Rozlana Taukina, told RFE/RL that Esergepov cannot be sent to jail for revealing secrets since he was performing his job as a journalist. She added that her organization is going to start a campaign calling for Esergepov to be released