Independent reporter convicted of defaming president

JANUARY 22, 2007
Posted February 6, 2007

Kaziz Toguzbayev, Kub

Judge Natalya Rusakova of the Bostandyksky Court in the Kazakh financial capital, Almaty, sentenced reporter Toguzbayev to a two-year suspended sentence under Article 316 of the criminal code for “insulting the honor and dignity” of President Nursultan Nazarbayev, according to CPJ sources and local press reports.

The Committee for National Security of Kazakhstan charged Toguzbayev in August, after his stories headlined, “Mafia Regime Hides the Murder of Altynbek Sarsenbayev” and “The Pope of Rome and the Pope of Astana—Feel the Difference,” ran on the news Web site Kub in May and April, according to CPJ research.

Toguzbayev, a staff reporter for the Almaty-based independent biweekly newspaper Azat, plans to appeal, according to local press reports.