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CPJ Concerned About Detention Of Kazakh Journalist

Seitqazy Mataev, chairman of the Union of Journalists of Kazakhstan, in December 2012

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an international press rights group, has expressed concerns about the February 22 detention in Almaty of Seitqazy Mataev, the head of the Kazakh Journalists Union and the chairman of the National Press Club.

Mataev and his son Aset Mataev, who is the director of the KazTAG news agency, were detained for questioning on February 22.

Kazakhstan's Anticorruption Agency said later that Seitqazy Mataev was suspected of embezzling and tax evasion and could face up to 12 years in prison if convicted.

He remained in custody on February 23 but has not been formally charged.

The CPJ in a statement urged the Kazakh authorities to either produce evidence supporting the allegation that Mataev and his son had committed a crime, or "immediately stop harassing the two, and refrain from leveling unfounded accusations against journalists in an effort to intimidate them."

Aset Mataev, who was released on February 22 after being interrogated for several hours, told RFE/RL that all the accusations were politically motivated.

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