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Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Kazakh minister sentenced for libel

From Radio Free Europe:
A court in Almaty on 13 June ordered former Information Minister Altynbek Sarsenbaev to pay 1 million tenges ($7,500) in damages for defaming Khabar Agency, Interfax-Kazakhstan reported. Khabar had initially sought 50 million tenges in damages. Sarsenbaev must also publicly retract the comments he made in a 1 October 2004 interview with the opposition newspaper "Respublika" in which he alleged that Khabar was part of a monopolistic media holding controlled by Darigha Nazarbaeva, daughter of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev, the Navigator website (http://www.navi.kz) reported. "I think that the court's decision is connected with the upcoming presidential elections," Sarsenbaev, co-chairman of the unregistered opposition party Naghyz Ak Zhol, commented after the ruling. He said that if repression against opposition figures continues, "there will be no need to export revolution [to Kazakhstan]; a revolution will take place inside the country." Sarsenbaev vowed to appeal the ruling. He has 15 days to do so.

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