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Trial Of Kazakh Journalists' Union Chief Starts In Astana

The head of the Kazakh Journalists' Union and chairman of the National Press Club went on trial on corruption charges in Astana on August 23.

Seitqazy Mataev and his son, Aset, who is also on trial and is the director of the KazTAG news agency, were detained in February and later placed under house arrest.

They have been charged with financial fraud. Seitqazy Mataev is also charged with tax evasion.

Both deny any wrongdoing, with rights organizations having denounced the charges as politically motivated.

Also on August 23, authorities in Kazakhstan's largest city, Almaty, started demolishing the building of Mataev's National Press Club, citing safety issues.

The building was privatized by Mataev several years ago.

Mataev, 61, served as presidential press secretary from 1991-93.

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