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Kazakh Libel Ruling Hits Survivor Of Vicious Attack


Lukpan Akhmedyarov
ORAL, Kazakhstan -- An appellate court in western Kazakhstan has upheld a guilty verdict against an opposition journalist in a controversial libel case.

In July, Lukpan Akhmedyarov, a correspondent for the "Uralskaya Nedelya" weekly in the city of Oral, was found guilty of insulting a local official and ordered to pay 5 million tenge ($33,000) in compensation.

International media-freedom advocacy group Reporters without Borders condemned the court's decision, calling it a move "to strangle the journalist financially."

In April, Akhmedyarov survived a vicious attack in which he was stabbed and shot with a pneumatic pistol.

In September, new charges of libel were field against Akhmedyarov.

That same month, Akhmedyarov won the prestigious international Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism.

Akhmedyarov says the attack and lawsuits against him are politically motivated.
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