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Current Time Reporter Fined In Kazakhstan, Vows To Appeal

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NUR-SULTAN A court in Kazakhstan’s capital has fined Current Time correspondent Svetlana Glushkova 25,250 tenge ($66) on an administrative charge of assault that she rejects as politically motivated.

The court imposed the fine on April 2 after ruling that Glushkova assaulted a teenage girl who was preventing her from covering the arrests of demonstrators in the capital on March 22.

The demonstrators were protesting against plans to change the name of the capital from Astana to Nur-Sultan in honor of Nursultan Nazarbaev, the longtime president who had resigned three days earlier.

Glushkova, who was detained at the airport in Nur-Sultan upon arrival from Almaty late on March 31, denies the charge. She said she would appeal Judge Asiya Doszhanova’s ruling and vowed to continue her journalistic activities.

Current Time is a Russian-language network led by RFE/RL in cooperation with VOA.

Also on April 2, a court in the western city of Aqtau resumed hearings on an appeal by RFE/RL Kazakh Service correspondent Saniya Toiken against a fine imposed by a court in Zhanaozen, a restive city in the Aqtau region.

That hearing started on April 1 but was adjourned after the prosecutor requested police officers involved in the case to testify in the courtroom.

The court fined Toiken $135 after ruling that she refused to follow police orders last month.

Toiken was detained three times over several weeks in February-March while covering protests by residents of Zhanaozen, an oil-industry city, who were demanding jobs. She contends that the case against her is politically motivated.

In December 2011, police fatally shot at least 16 people when dispersing protesting oil workers in Zhanaozen.

Rights activists and critics say Nazarbaev, who had been president since 1990, persistently suppressed dissent, prolonged his time in office through undemocratic votes or referendums, and used the levers of power to neutralize potential opponents.

The 78-year-old Nazarbaev remains head of the ruling Nur-Otan party and is chairman-for-life of the country’s Security Council.

Toiken is a recipient of the 2017 Courage in Journalism Award of the International Women’s Media Foundation.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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