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Kazakhstan11 May 2005

Call for interior ministry to act after police arrest and beat journalist

Reporters Without Borders called on the interior minister to act promptly to identify and punish police officers who arrested and beat journalist Vitaly Yougai, of state-owned Kazakhstan television, in the capital Astana.

Police from the interior ministry stopped Yougai at the entrance to his apartment on the evening of 7 May and asked for his identity papers. The journalist suggested they accompanied him home because he did not have them on him. The police refused and forced him into a patrol car where he was beaten. They continued to rain blows on him at the police station until he was finally released two hours later.

"I have got multiple bruising to my face and some of the blows have affected my hearing" the journalist told Reporters Without Borders. Yougaï laid a complaint on 10 May at the prosecutor’s office in the Sariarkinsky district of Astana and at the internal security service of the interior ministry.

"It is unacceptable that a journalist should be object of violence and abuse of power from representatives of the state who, on the contrary, are supposed to protect all citizens," said Reporters Without Borders. This assault is unworthy of a democratic state and we urge interior minister, Zautbek Turisbekov, to identify and quickly punish those responsible so that such acts are not repeated in the future".

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