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Kazakh Journalists' Rights Defender Joins Editor's Hunger Strike

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- The head of an NGO that protects journalists in Kazakhstan has joined a hunger strike to protest the closure of an independent magazine.

Ramazan Esergepov, president of the NGO Journalists in Trouble, joined Gulzhan Erghalieva's (eds: a woman) hunger strike on January 26 in Kazakhstan's largest city, Almaty.

Erghalieva, a prominent journalist who has faced pressure from law enforcement agencies for years, started her hunger strike on January 19 in the offices of her magazine, Adam Bol (Be a Human), to protest its closure.

In December, an Almaty court ordered Erghalieva's magazine shut down for "propagating war."

That ruling came weeks after the magazine published an interview with opposition activist Aidos Sadyqov, who is living in exile in Ukraine. In the interview, Sadyqov lambasted Russia for its involvement in the military conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Before becoming president of Journalists in Trouble in 2012, Esergepov spent three years in jail for publishing articles he wrote about alleged links between a Kazakh businessman and the National Security Committee.

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