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Kazakhstan: Website owner harassed for disseminating "false information" about bank

A cashier counts Kazakhstan's Tenge currency notes in a Kazkommertsbank branch in Almaty, 4 February 2010.
A cashier counts Kazakhstan's Tenge currency notes in a Kazkommertsbank branch in Almaty, 4 February 2010.

REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

This statement was originally published on freedomhouse.org on 22 December 2015.

Following police searches of the offices of Nakanune.kz and the homes of the website's owner and one of its journalists as part of a groundless investigation, Freedom House issued the following statement:

"Harassing journalists and fabricating charges against them highlight the Kazakhstan government's systematic attack on freedom of expression," said Robert Herman, vice president of international programs. "The government should end its efforts to intimidate independent media outlets, journalists and their families."

Background

On December 18, police searched the Almaty offices of Nakanune.kz nd the homes of Nakanune.kz owner Guzyal Baidalinova and one of the website's journalists, Yulia Kozlova. Almaty police said they have initiated pre-trial investigations against Respublika and Nakanune.kz for allegedly disseminating false information about the activities of Kazkommertsbank. Kozlova is also accused of using narcotics, after police planted narcotics during their search.

Kazakhstan is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2015, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2015, and receives a democracy score of 6.61 on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2015 .

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