Attack on Kazakhstani Journalist Demands Investigation
Freedom House is deeply concerned by news of the vicious beating of journalist Ularbek Baytaylak in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. Baytaylak was reportedly assaulted in the early hours of August 9 near his home. He is currently in serious condition in the hospital after his attackers left him for dead. According to Kazakhstani media freedom organization Adil Soz, Baytaylak’s articles have appeared in the opposition newspaper Dat, the newspaper Tortishni Bilik, and the magazine Altyn Tamyr.
Journalists in Kazakhstan working with opposition media outlets and covering corruption often face harassment and pressure. In April 2012, journalist Lukpan Akmedyarov was stabbed and shot outside of his home in the northwestern city of Uralsk. Akmedyarov has expressed skepticism about the guilt of the suspects arrested in his case —a group of teenagers from a distant rural village. Since the attack, Akmedyarov and his newspaper were also fined $33,000 after publishing an article describing the clan ties and nepotism within the Uralsk Interior Ministry.
Freedom House urges the government of Kazakhstan to pursue a thorough and impartial investigation in to the attack on Baytaylak, including examining possible connections to his professional activity.
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