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Raushan Esergepova
ALMATY -- A trial for three organizers of a rally supporting jailed journalists in Kazakhstan began today in Almaty, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Raushan Esergepova, the wife of the jailed "Alma-Ata info" newspaper editor Ramazan Esergepov; Vladimir Kozlov, leader of the unregistered opposition group Alga; and Rozlana Taukina, the head of the Kazakh nongovernmental organization Journalists in Trouble, are accused of violating a law on the holding of rallies, marches, and demonstrations in holding a rally last week.

The three say the charges against them are politically motivated.

On January 6, a flash-mob protest action was held in central Almaty to support jailed journalists, including Esergepov, "Vremya" newspaper correspondent Tohniyaz Kuchukov, writer Alpamys Bekturganov, and "Law and Justice" editor in chief Tokbergen Abiev.

Esergepov was found guilty in August of revealing state secrets after publishing some government documents. Abiev was convicted for investigating judicial corruption. Writer and journalist Alpamys Bekturganov was imprisoned after writing a critical article about West Kazakhstan Governor Baktykozha Izmukhambetov, who won a libel case against him.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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