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Kazakh Journalist Charged With Inciting Social Hatred Released

Kazakh journalist Igor Vinyavsky
ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakh journalist Igor Vinyavsky, who was arrested and charged with inciting social hatred and attempting to overthrow constitutional order, has been unexpectedly released from jail.

Vinyavsky told RFE/RL that he was amnestied on March 15.

No more details are available at this moment.

Vinyavsky, the editor of the independent "Vzglyad" (Glance) newspaper, was detained in January after visiting the southwestern town of Zhanaozen, where police shot dead at least 16 protesters in December.

Last week, a former lawyer for oil workers in Zhanaozen, Natalya Sokolova, was unexpectedly released on parole.

Sokolova had been sentenced to six years in prison on charges of "inciting social hatred" in connection with the oil-workers' strike in Zhanaozen.

The Representative on Freedom of the Media for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Dunja Mijatovic, has welcomed Vinyavsky's release as a "positive sign."

Mijatovic expressed hope that the charges pressed against Vinyavsky would be dropped and that the newspaper would be able to quickly retrieve its computers and financial records, which had been seized by security officers on the day he was detained.
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