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Detained Chief Of Kazakh Journalists Union Sent To Hospital

ALMATY -- The head of the Kazakh Journalists Union has been sent to a hospital a week after he was detained for what authorities said was a case of suspected in embezzlement and tax evasion.

The Almaty-based media rights organization Adil Soz (A Just Word) said on February 29 that Seitqazy Mataev, who is also the chairman of the National Press Club, was rushed to the hospital after showing symptoms of dangerously high blood pressure.

Mataev was detained on February 22. On February 24, a court in Almaty ordered him to remain under house arrest.

Kazakhstan's Anticorruption Agency said that Mataev could face up to 12 years in jail if convicted on charges of embezzlement and tax evasion.

Mataev has said he is innocent.

Rights organizations say Mataev is being prosecuted on trumped-up charges in response to his work as head of the journalists' union.

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