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Detained Head Of Kazakh Journalists Union Transferred To House Arrest


Seitqazy Mataev

ALMATY -- An Almaty court has transferred to house arrest Seitqazy Mataev, the head of the Kazakh Journalists Union and the chairman of the National Press Club.

The Medeu district court ruled on February 24 that Mataev can stay under house arrest while investigations into his case are carried out.

Mataev and his son, Aset Mataev, who is the director of the KazTAG news agency, were detained for questioning on February 22. The latter was released several hours later.

Kazakhstan's Anticorruption Agency has said that Seitqazy Mataev is suspected of embezzlement and tax evasion and may face up to 12 years in jail if convicted.

Mataev pleaded not guilty and said in the courtroom on February 24 that he is "ready to prove his innocence."

It is not clear if Mataev was officially charged.

Rights organizations have said Mataev is being prosecuted on trumped-up charges because of his work as a journalist.

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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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