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Protesters Urge Court To Repeal Fine Against Kazakh Newspaper

Ermurat Bapi
Ermurat Bapi
Supporters of the Kazakh weekly "Taszharghan" have picketed the Almaty City Court building, demanding that it reconsider its decision to fine the periodical an amount that would force it to close.

An Almaty appeals court last month upheld a verdict against the newspaper for "damaging the reputation" of Romin Madinov, a Kazakh parliament deputy, and increased the amount of the fine tenfold to $200,000.

The editor in chief of the weekly, Ermurat Bapi, told RFE/RL's Kazakh Service that such a fine would force the newspaper to shut down.

Bapi said that the acting chairwoman of the Almaty City Court, Raushan Adilbaeva, met with the protesters.

"Taszharghan" is an opposition periodical that has been officially closed by the city authorities several times in the past and has only resumed publication after changing its name several times.

The word "taszharghan" refers to a plant that eventually grows through stone.