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Provincial reporter hounded by courts in Kazakhstan

(RSF/IFEX) - 3 October 2012 - Reporters Without Borders condemns yesterday's decision by a provincial appeal court in the western city of Oral to uphold a lower court ruling under which newspaper reporter Lukpan Akhmedyarov would have to pay a local official 5 million tenges (30,000 euros) in damages.

The press freedom organization urges Kazakhstan's supreme court to overturn this ruling, especially as it would have a major intimidatory effect on independent and opposition media, which are being harassed more and more.

The decision ordering Akhmedyarov to pay this exorbitant sum in damages was issued by the lower court on 20 July in a defamation case brought by Tlekkabyl Imashev, a high-ranking local official.

Akhmedyarov is to receive the Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism at a ceremony in Washington on 12 October. The prize is awarded jointly by Global Media Forum and Reporters Without Borders.

In April, Akhmedyarov was seriously injured in a knife attack and spent nearly a month in hospital.

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