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Office of frequently harassed opposition newspaper fired upon, pelted with stones

(Adil Soz/IFEX) - The editorial office of the "Taszhargan" newspaper was fired upon and pelted with stones on the night of 31 March 2008. When its employees showed up for work the next morning, they found the windows shattered by two gunshots and stones, and a bullet embedded in a wall.

"Taszhargan" chief editor Bakytgul Mekimbay has sought intervention by the police. The Medeu District Department of Internal Affairs has begun investigation into the case.

The management of the newspaper thinks the attack is connected with its editorial stance. "Taszhargan" is the oldest opposition newspaper in Kazakhstan. It began publishing in 1998 under the name "Dat", but following repeated closures through court orders, it was forced to assume new names to continue publishing.

The newspaper's office has previously been set on fire, burgled, and its employees beaten. A former chief editor, Yermurat Bapi, was prosecuted for insulting President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Barred from any editorial activity, he now calls himself "the main reader of the newspaper".

For further information on the closures of "Taszhargan" and its previous guises, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/87357

For further information on the Bapi case, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/13209

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