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Opposition Weekly Suspends Operations In Kazakhstan

Ermurat Bapi
Ermurat Bapi
A well-known Kazakh opposition weekly has suspended operations, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Ermurat Bapi, the chief editor and owner of Almaty's "Taszharghan" (Stone Breaker) newspaper told his employees that he was forced to make the decision due to financial problems.

Last month, the weekly was found guilty of libel and obliged to pay the equivalent of $200,000 to a member of the Kazakh parliament as compensation for damaging his honor and dignity.

Bapi says the charges were politically motivated.

Bapi himself was sentenced to five days in jail last week for being unable to pay the compensation. He was later released from custody.

"Taszharghan" had to change its name several times after being shut down by the authorities in its 11 years of existence.