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Rights Group Criticizes Decision To Put Kazakh Journalist In Psychiatric Clinic

Kazakh journalist Aleksander Kharlamov.
ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan's Bureau for Human Rights has criticized authorities for placing a journalist in a psychiatric clinic.

The chairman of the Almaty-based bureau, Yevgeny Zhovtis, told journalists on May 14 that the case of Aleksandr Kharlamov is reminiscent of the Soviet-era, when dissidents were regularly placed in psychiatric clinics.

Kharlamov was arrested in March and charged with inciting religious hatred.

In April, he was brought from his native town of Ridder in Kazakhstan’s northeast to a psychiatric clinic in Almaty.

Kharlamov's relatives say they have not been allowed to see him since then. Kharlamov's wife, Marina Kaplunskaya, told journalists on May 12 that her husband's case is politically motivated.

According to her, local authorities launched investigations against Kharlamov after an article he wrote criticizing local police was published in a Ridder newspaper.
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