Igor Vinyavsky, editor of the independent weekly Vzglyad, was freed from a Kazakhstan prison on March 15, 2012, on the orders of an Almaty court, according to news reports. The journalist had spent two months in pretrial detention after being arrested by the KNB, Kazakhstan’s security service, news reports said.
Vinyavsky was charged with “making public calls to overthrow Kazakhstan’s constitutional regime,” news reports said. He was accused of committing the crime with unknown accomplices and faced up to seven years in jail if convicted, news reports said. The journalist’s colleagues told CPJ they believed the KNB imprisoned the editor in retaliation for his reporting on the December 2011 deadly clashes between police and oil workers then on strike in western Kazakhstan.
Vinyavsky was released after prosecutors “could not prove he had acted as part of an organized criminal group, which is a less grave crime,” his lawyer, Gennady Nam, told Reuters. The journalist was freed immediately, and the case against him was closed, the journalist said.
The editor told CPJ that the KNB returned the reporting equipment they had seized during the raid on Vinyavsky’s apartment and the Vzglyad offices.