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Kazakh Court Upholds Fine For RFE/RL Correspondent

RFE/RL correspondent Saniya Toiken (file photo)

AQTAU, Kazakhstan -- A regional court in western Kazakhstan has upheld the decision by a lower court to fine an RFE/RL correspondent, Saniya Toiken.

Judge Nursapa Primashev of the Manghystau regional court in Aqtau rejected Toiken's appeal late on April 2, saying that the decision to fine her was legal.

He announced his verdict with Toiken not present, as she left the courtroom to protest the judge's decision to hold the hearing without Toiken's lawyer, who had to leave Aqtau due to an appointment in another city.

Primashev rejected Toiken's request to hold the hearing on April 3 when her lawyer would be back in Aqtau.

Last month, a court in the restive city of Zhanaozen fined Toiken some $135 after ruling that she refused to follow police orders.

Toiken was detained three times over several weeks in February-March while covering protests by residents in Zhanaozen, an oil-industry city, who were demanding jobs. She contends that the case against her is politically motivated.

Toiken said after the decision on April 2 that she will appeal it with the Prosecutor-General’s Office.

Toiken is a recipient of the 2017 Courage in Journalism Award of the International Women's Media Foundation.

Also on April 2, a court in the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan, fined Current Time correspondent Svetlana Glushkova about $66 after finding her guilty of assaulting a teenage girl while covering protests in the city.

Glushkova has rejected the charge and court ruling, calling them politically motivated.

Current Time is a Russian-language network led by RFE/RL in cooperation with VOA.

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