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Kazakh Blogger Jailed After Attempt To Report On Protest


Zhanbolat Mamai

ALMATY -- A Kazakh blogger has been sent to jail for 15 days after he tried to report on a protest against the incarceration of an independent journalist.

Blogger Askhat Bersalimov's lawyer, Zhanar Balghabaeva, told RFE/RL that her client was sentenced to 15 days of administrative arrest late on February 23.

Bersalimov was detained hours earlier outside the headquarters of the National Security Committee in Almaty, the Central Asian country's biggest city, where he was trying to report on a man who was calling for the release of journalist Zhanbolat Mamai.

Police quickly and forcibly took protester Erlan Qaliev away and detained Bersalimov.

Bersalimov was later found guilty of organizing of an illegal public gathering -- a charge he denied, saying that he was seeking to cover Qaliev's protests as a journalist and blogger.

Mamai, acting editor of The Sayasi Qalam-Tribuna (The Political Pen-Tribune), was detained on February 10 and later charged with laundering money.

Mamai says the case against him is politically motivated.

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    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

    RFE/RL's Radio Azattyq has been an important source of information for people in Kazakhstan for decades. In 2009, Azattyq won the prestigious 2009 Online Journalism Award for "standing in defense of citizen’s rights to seek and receive information."

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