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RFE/RL Kazakh Reporter, Rights Activist Acquitted Of Libel

Alima Abdirova is a member of the independent Kazakh Bureau for Human Rights.
AQTOBE, Kazakhstan -- A rights activist and RFE/RL reporter in northwestern Kazakhstan has been acquitted of libel, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Alima Abdirova was sued by the former director of a special-needs boarding school in Aqtobe after she alleged children there were being abused. The allegations were published in a local newspaper in May.

Abdirova told RFE/RL that Judge Maqsat Duisen dropped the libel charges against her on August 31, saying they "have not been proven in court."

Abdirova was sued in her capacity as a member of the independent Kazakh Bureau for Human Rights, not as a journalist.

Irina Dombrovskaya, the school's former director, maintained that Abdirova's portrayal of conditions at the school was distorted and inaccurate.

Dombrovskaya also demanded 5 million tenges (about $34,000) in moral damages and 60,000 tenges (about $400) for court costs.

Read more in Kazakh here