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Almaty Confidential: Yessergepov sentenced to jail

Written by on Monday, 17 August 2009
Kazakhstan, Media and Internet
Is Nazarbayev watching the news? Image by Flickr user Still Burning (CC-Usage).

Is Kazakhstan watching the news? Image by Flickr user Still Burning (CC-Usage).

Translation of Sorge’s post

The epic nine-month trial of Ramazan Yessergepov is over.  The chief editor of Almaty INFO has been sentenced to three years in jail on charges of divulging state secrets and the publication of the newspaper has been suspended.

The story began from the article published in last November. It cited the internal document of the National Security Committee (KNB), which was handed over to the newspapers’ editorial office by Sultan Makhmadov, the president of BM Company, involved in allegedly illegal alcohol business. According to the authorities’ opinion [ru], the businessman disclosed the kompromat that he obtained through bribery in order to hinder the investigation.

The defendants of Mr. Yessergepov have marked out numerous violations during the course of the legal proceedings. Even the sentencing decision was announced behind the closed doors, without attorney’s presence. The democrats took the side of the dissident. “Journalists in Danger” Foundation developed the plan of actions in support of Mr. Yessergepov. The international organization “Reporters Without Borders” addressed to the Court of Appeal , urging it to revise the sentence [ru].

Miklos Haraszti, the OSCE’s representative on freedom of the media called on the government of Kazakhstan to cancel the judgment of conviction that offends “international standards and commitments to OSCE for improvement of the situation with freedom of speech” [ru].

“Azat” Democratic Party of Kazakhstan has harshly criticized the sentencing decision, qualifying it as «demonstrative punishment of the journalist, who dared to unveil the secret practices of KNB « and demanded to set Mr. Yessergepov free, as he was sentenced “by order” [ru].

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