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Kazakhstan: Independent Newspaper Editor Condemned to Limited Freedom

A court in Kazakhstan has sentenced the editor of an independent newspaper to three years of limited freedom for purportedly using his publication to launder money.

The judge at Almaty’s Medeu district court also ruled on September 7 that Zhanbolat Mamay should be denied the right to carry out any journalistic activities over that same period.

Critics of the trial have described it as a contrived effort to silence a dissenting voice and that the core charges of money-laundering bore little scrutiny.

Prosecutors maintain that Mamay received $110,000 in funds from the dogged and foreign-based regime foe Mukhtar Ablyazov with the purpose of laundering the cash. That amount, it was suggested, came from the billions that Kazakhstan’s authorities say Ablyazov embezzled from BTA Bank, which he ran before fleeing the country in 2009. 

The sentence means that Mamay is to be released from custody but that his movements will be strictly monitored and limited. With time served, he has two-and-a-half years of his penalty remaining.

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Kazakhstan: Independent Newspaper Editor Condemned to Limited Freedom

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