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Jailed Kazakh Journalist Awarded Grant By Rights Group

Ramazan Esergepov, imprisoned editor of Alma-Ata Info newspaper
ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Jailed Kazakh journalist Ramazan Esergepov has been named a recipient of a Hellman-Hammett Grant for 2011, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Esergepov's wife, Raushan Esergepova, told RFE/RL about the award on June 28.

Esergepov, the founder and chief editor of the Almaty-based Alma-Ata Info, was sentenced in August 2009 to three years in prison for revealing state secrets in his newspaper in 2008.

He protested the verdict, saying it was politically motivated. His requests for parole and transfer from a prison to a labor colony were denied. Esergepov's newspaper was closed down after his arrest.

The Hellman-Hammett Grants are administered by Human Rights Watch and awarded to writers and journalists who have been subjected to political persecution and are in financial need.

Esergepov is the third Kazakh to receive such a grant.