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Journalist in Kazakhstan arrested for interrogating over president Tokayev's actions

13.01.2022, 13:33

Nurzhan Baimuldin, editor-in-chief of Russia's Kokshetau Asia news service in Kazakhstan, was placed under the arrest for 10 days for a post on social media with interrogation over the head of state’s actions. 

Nurzhan Baimuldintold that on January 12 on his Facebook page, according to Radio Azattyq, the Kazakh service of Radio Liberty.

"10 days of arrest for asking Tokayev some questions. I am waiting for the convoy, 23 o'clock at night, from 12 o'clock in the afternoon, I am with no food, water and things. I am hungry. I was deceitfully invited by operative officer, calling himself the deputy chief of police. They kept me with no access to a lawyer for more than three hours. In the precinct, new questions were added to the protocol three times in order to catch me on something. The investigator went somewhere and came up with new questions that were agreed upon somewhere, ” as Baimuldin wrote.

The journalist added that he got sick and his temperature rose. But the doctors who came did not hospitalize him, saying he had ARVI, and "advised to take paracetamol." 

According to Baimuldin, the judge told him that he could be fined "if he pleaded guilty." The record later became unavailable.

The Administrative Court found Baimuldin guilty of "actions that provoke law and order in a state of emergency." The court found the offense on the journalist's Facebook post on January 10, which, according to the court, contained "comments on the actions of the president of Kazakhstan, which are not confirmed by official sources."

The reason for the administrative case was Baimuldin's post entitled "Tokayev accounts to Putin?", in which he asked why the president of Kazakhstan announced his decision to appoint a new government at the summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

As IMI reported, on January 4, police detained and held for several hours two Radio Liberty journalists, Darkhan Omirbek and Kasim Amanzhol, who were covering protests over a sharp hike in prices for liquefied natural gas, as Radio Liberty's Kazakh service.

Also, the Internet and partially mobile communication were switched off throughout the country.

On January 5, correspondents of the Kazakh service Radio Svoboda (Radio Azattyk) came under fire in the city of Almaty.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said that independent journalists and the media had major difficulties to cover unprecedented anti-government protests in Kazakhstan. In particular, the authorities resort to arbitrary arrests, police violence, blocking of telecommunications and the Internet.

Protests in Kazakhstan began on January 2 in the western city of Zhanaozen, Mangystau region, where most cars are refueled. Fuel prices in the new year jumped to 120 tenge per liter, while in the middle of last year it was 55-60 tenge (about $0,12 – 0,13). On January 4, protests engulfed cities in the north, center and south of the country. Their participants blamed government with corruption, unemployment and low wages. Many protesters demanded government to resign.

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