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Kazakh Court Acquits Journalist Charged With Illegal Drugs Possession

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- A Kazakh court has acquitted journalist Yulia Kozlova, who had been charged with illegal drugs possession.

The Bostandyq District Court in Kazakhstan's largest city, Almaty, ruled on February 29 that the origin of the drugs found in Kozlova’s apartment in December must still be established.

Kozlova's lawyer, Aiman Omarova, welcomed the ruling and called it "a rare decision."

The journalist had pleaded not guilty, saying the drugs had been planted and calling the case against her politically motivated.

Kozlova works for the online news portal The outlet's owner and editor, Guzyal Baidalinova, has been under arrest since December 23.

One of Kazakhstan's largest banks, Kazkommertzbank, filed a lawsuit against Baidalinova, accusing her of "organization and publishing false data."

Baidalinova calls the charges politically motivated.