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Kazakhstan: Journalist kept in prison against the law

The Kazakhstan government is keeping journalist Ramazan Esergepov in prison in violation of the law and endangering his health. Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) said it was “a new attack on his rights” and showed he was being held for “political reasons.”

Prison authorities refused for a third time, on January 27 this year, to free him despite his serious health problems and his good conduct while in prison. The law says a prisoner can be conditionally freed after serving a third of his sentence. Esergepov, editor of Alma-Ata Info, was sentenced to three years in prison on August 8, 2009 for gathering news described as “state secrets” after a trial marred by irregularities.

RSF said his rights to a fair trial, independent legal help and to health care and to receive visits from his family had been abused.

Officials at the 158/2 prison camp in the southern town of Taraz are firmly opposed to releasing him and have also twice refused requests for him to be moved to a jail closer to his family and where he can get proper health care. The prison chief has criticised him for taking medicine and used it as a reason to keep him in jail. Esergepov sent a complaint about this to the court and regional prosecutor on 3 January this year but the letter did not arrive.

Date posted: February 22, 2011 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 119