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Almaty Court Says Police Inaction On Attacks Against RFE/RL Reporters Was Illegal


During mass anti-government rallies in Almaty last March, several unknown people aggressively covered RFE/RL cameras with newspapers and began physically and verbally abusing them. (file photo)

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- A Kazakh court has ruled that an investigation should continue into the failure of police to act against individuals who attacked RFE/RL reporters and hindered their professional activities.

The Almaty City Investigation Court on April 15 agreed with a lawsuit filed by Aiman Omarova, a lawyer for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, against police and asking for a deeper investigation of the incident.

During mass anti-government rallies in Almaty in March 2019, several unknown people aggressively covered RFE/RL cameras with newspapers and began physically and verbally abusing them.

RFE/RL correspondents in Almaty filed an official request with local police, asking them to identify the attackers and bring them to justice.

Omarova subsequently filed a lawsuit against police, accusing them of inaction when the case failed to develop.

Tamara Kaleyeva, chairwoman of the Adil Soz (A Just Word) group, which defends journalists' rights, told RFE/RL on April 15 that reporters in Kazakhstan rarely file lawsuits against police in such cases because "they almost never reach the courts."

"Unfortunately, journalists' rights, and the right of our citizens to obtain information, are not honored by our law enforcement bodies," Kaleyeva said.

Kazakhstan ranked 158th out of 179 countries in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index published by the rights group Reporters Without Borders.

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