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Kazakh Weekly Demands Probe Into Publisher's Disappearance

Daniyar Moldashev, director of the Kazakh publishing house АDP. (Courtesy of the "Voice of the Republic" newspaper).
ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Journalists at the Kazakh opposition weekly "Golos respubliki" are demanding an investigation into the unusual situation of ADP publishing house Director Daniyar Moldashev, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Tatyana Trubacheva, "Golos respubliki" chief editor, told journalists in Almaty on April 6 that Moldashev had gone to Moscow to meet with editors from the opposition newspaper "Respublika."

When he returned to Almaty from Moscow on March 26, unknown assailants beat him and took his camera and some documents related to his work with "Respublika." Moldashev subsequently went missing.

His brother, Asqar, then called from Minsk saying that Moldashev was in the Belarusian capital and that he would explain the situation when he returned to Almaty.

Trubacheva said the Canon camera Moldashev was bringing from Moscow belonged to her newspaper and therefore the weekly should also be considered a victim since the camera was stolen.

She said Asqar had met his missing brother in Minsk and brought a written message from Daniyar.

In his message, Daniyar Moldashev reportedly asked his colleagues "not to bother him anymore and to leave him alone" because he does not want "any problems for his relatives."

He also sent his written intention to resign from his post as director of the Almaty-based publishing house.

Trubacheva and her lawyer, Sergei Utkin, said Daniyar Moldashev must have been frightened by someone and they want Kazakh authorities to fully investigate the situation.

On March 31, Almaty police issued an official statement saying Moldashev was neither abducted nor robbed but had been attacked and taken to hospital where he "refused to cooperate" with police.

"Respublika" had to move its headquarters to Moscow from Almaty several years ago after Kazakh authorities imposed restrictions on the newspaper.

"Golos respubliki," which is also published by ADP, has had to suspend its operations several times due to pressure being imposed on it by local authorities. Some of its reporters have also been attacked and beaten in the past.

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