Photo credits: azattyq.org
An RFE/RL correspondent in Kazakhstan has been detained in the restive southwestern city of Zhanaozen and accused of disobedience to police, as Radio Free Europe?Radio Liberty
Sania Toiken told RFE/RL by phone on March 12 that she was being brought to a local court after police detained her at a cafe in Zhanaozen the previous night.
Toiken, who has now been detained in Zhanaozen three times in the past few weeks, could face a hefty fine or up to five days in jail if the court rules that she disobeyed police.
She has been covering ongoing protests by residents in the oil-industry town who are demanding jobs. The previous two detainments were brief, with police questioning her over her coverage of the protests.
Civil right activist Ghalym Agheleuov tweeted on March 12 that a number of protesters were rallying in front of the Zhanaozen police headquarters, demanding the immediate release of Toiken and several protesters who were detained in the morning.
On March 11, the protesters issued a video statement urging President Nursultan Nazarbaev to intervene on their behalf.
Kazakh authorities have been cautious when dealing with protests in Zhanaozen for years, after police fatally shot at least 16 people while dispersing protesting oil workers in December 2011.
Toiken is a recipient of the 2017 Courage in Journalism Award of the International Women's Media Foundation.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty