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Kazakh Journalist Jailed On Libel Charges


A prominent Kazakh journalist Guzyal Baidalinova has been sentenced to 18 months in jail on libel charges.

The Almaly district court on May 23 found Baidalinova guilty of publishing false information about one of Kazakhstan's largest banks, Kazkommertsbank. She was sentenced the same day.

Baidalinova, 48, the owner and editor of the Nakanune.kz online news portal, went on trial on May 5. She pleaded partially guilty, asking the court not to jail her.

She was arrested in December after Kazkommertsbank filed a lawsuit against her, accusing her of publishing a series of reports with false data intending to damage the financial institution's reputation.

Nakanune.kz is known for its independence and critical reporting on local authorities.

Baidalinova's co-defendant, businessman Tair Qaldybaev, was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in jail on the same charges.

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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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