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Journalist faces libel lawsuit for reports critical of prosecutor

(Adil Soz/IFEX) - Senior prosecutor Baurzhan Ospanov plans to sue journalist Zhasaral Kuanyshalin for his critical reports in the newspapers "Zhas Alash", "Taszhargan" and "Respublika".

The journalist had reported that the prosecutor was drunk and had misbehaved during court proceedings. Following the publication of the articles, Ospanov was pulled from the proceedings for which he had been serving as prosecutor, with the formal explanation being "nonprocedural contact".

Ospanov told local media outlets that he plans to file a lawsuit against Kuanyshalin and claims that the information in the journalist's reports is untrue and libelous.

This is the second time that the journalist will face libel charges. In 2006, Kuanyshalin was sentenced to two years in prison for "public insult or other infringement upon the honour and dignity of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan with the use of the mass information media", under Article 318 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan. He was freed on amnesty (see IFEX alerts of 2 August and 5 July 2006).

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