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Kazakh Activist Released From Pretrial Detention

Kazakh journalist and activist Aleksandr Kharlamov (file photo)
RIDDER, Kazakhstan -- An independent journalist and civil society activist in Kazakhstan has been released from a pretrial detention center.

A court in the northeastern town of Ridder decided late on September 3 that Aleksandr Kharlamov can go home but cannot travel outside of Ridder.

Kharlamov, 63, was arrested in March and charged with inciting religious hatred because of articles he wrote on world religions. In April, he was sent from his hometown of Ridder to a psychiatric clinic in Almaty and placed under forced observation. He was later sent back to Ridder and placed in pretrial detention.

Kharlamov's relatives say authorities launched investigations against him after he accused Ridder police of violating people's rights. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and Human Rights Watch have urged Kazakh authorities to drop all charges against Kharlamov.
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