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Kazakh Journalist, After Surviving Attack, Tried For Libel Again


Lukpan Akhmedyarov (file photo)
ORAL, Kazakhstan -- One of Kazakhstan's most prominent independent journalists, Lukpan Akhmedyarov, has gone on trial in his native western city of Oral.

A local policeman filed a lawsuit against Akhmedyarov saying his reputation was damaged by the journalist's article and demanded 3 million tenges ($19,700) from Akhmedyarov as compensation.

Akhmedyarov, a correspondent for the "Uralskaya nedelya" weekly in Oral, survived a vicious attack by unknown assailants who stabbed him and shot him with a pneumatic pistol in April.

He was later found guilty of insulting a local official in West Kazakhstan Oblast and ordered to pay the official 5 million tenges ($32,800).

Akhmedyarov says the attack and lawsuit against him were politically motivated.

Last month, Akhmedyarov won the prestigious international Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism.
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    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

    RFE/RL's Radio Azattyq has been an important source of information for people in Kazakhstan for decades. In 2009, Azattyq won the prestigious 2009 Online Journalism Award for "standing in defense of citizen’s rights to seek and receive information."

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