New York, September 7, 2017–A Kazakh court today handed down a suspended prison sentence to Zhanbolat Mamay, editor of the independent newspaper Sayasi kalam/Tribuna, for charges of money laundering, and banned him from working as a journalist for three years, according to media reports. Mamay said he plans to appeal.
“This is a political verdict that shows that the Kazakh government is intent on silencing dissenting voices and muzzling independent media,” said CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney. “The authorities should not contest Zhanbolat Mamay’s appeal, and must allow him to work freely as a journalist.”
Kazakhstan’s security service arrested Mamay, an outspoken government critic, in February on charges of laundering money from the exiled opposition leader and former head of BTA Bank Mukhtar Ablyazov through the Sayasi kalam/Tribuna newspaper, CPJ reported at the time. Mamay, who frequently wrote about corruption and other sensitive issues, has denied the charges, saying they were politically motivated.