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Rustem Valiullin (file photo)
A lawyer inthe Russian republic of Tatarstan specializing in human rights and freedom of speech cases has filed a lawsuit against police, after he says they beat him while in detention, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Rustem Valiullin was released by police in the town of Almetyevsk on August 4 after being detained for two days. He said he filed a lawsuit alleging that he was beaten and illegally fingerprinted while in jail.

Valiullin was detained by traffic police late on August 2 after videotaping police as they detained his client for a traffic violation. He told RFE/RL he was beaten by an officer from the counterextremism department while a second policeman threatened to kill him.

Valiullin appeared in court on August 3 and was fined 500 rubles ($16.6). He was then released, but was detained again almost immediately for refusing to be fingerprinted.

Valiullin argued that since he was not charged with any crime it was illegal for police to have him fingerprinted.

Rafis Latypov, head of the Kama human rights organization in Izhevsk, in the neighboring republic of Udmurtia, went to Almetyevsk to try to secure Valiullin's release. But Valiullin wasn't informed about Latypov's visit.
DUSHANBE -- The privately owned Mushfiqi printing house in Dushanbe says that "technical problems" will prevent it from printing several independent weekly publications, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

The move has raised suspicions in light of past instances when political pressure from authorities is thought to have disrupted the print runs of other independent publications.

"Sukhan" weekly
Mushfiqi manager Umed Sattarov said the weeklies in question are "Paikon," "Ozodagon," "SSSR," "Millat," and "Borgohi Sukhan."

Sattarov told RFE/RL that Mushfiqi has asked those publications' editors to find alternative printing houses.

"Our printing equipment is broken. We request that they temporarily print elsewhere. We have a very small press that we can only print our own publications with," Sattarov said.

Editor Jumaboy Tolibov vowed that he would find an alternative means of circulating his "Paikon" publication.

Union of Journalists of Tajikistan head Akbar Sattor, who also owns a printing house, said that he is prepared to publish "Paikon" but only for a price that suits him.

Tajik lawyer Shuhrat Qudratov said that the Mushfiqi printing house has an agreement with these weeklies and must fulfill its obligations.

But Mukhtor Boqizoda, a former editor and the head of a local NGO that works to protect journalists' interests, described Mushfiqi's refusal as a message from the authorities that those weekly papers have overstepped government-imposed limits.

Boqizoda said that often when authorities or printing houses cite "technical problems," the problems are in fact political. He recalled that in the past, non-government-sponsored newspapers like "Ruzi Nav" and his own "Nerui Sukhan" found themselves in similar situations and were unable to continue publishing.

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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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