09ASTANA351, KAZAKHSTAN: UPDATE ON CASES OF YESERGEPOV, ATTACKED

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA351 2009-02-27 01:05 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO4047
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK
RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLH RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHNEH RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHPW
RUEHROV RUEHSK RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHTA #0351/01 0580105
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 270105Z FEB 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4733
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 1251
RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0633
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1339
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0334
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2172
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 2500
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 0812
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0728
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000351 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, DRL 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM SOCI KPAO KDEM KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN:  UPDATE ON CASES OF YESERGEPOV, ATTACKED 
JOURNALISTS 
 
REF: (A) ASTANA 0191  (B) ASTANA 0058  (C) 08 ASTANA 2383 
 
1.  (U) Sensitive but unclassified.  Not for public Internet. 
 
2.  (SBU) SUMMARY:  Several cases recently reported in local and 
international media have raised concerns about increasing pressure 
against journalists in Kazakhstans.  Three journalists were the 
victims of physical attacks fro December to February, while a 
fourth, Ramazan Yesergepov, remains in the custody of the Committee 
for National Security (KNB), charged with publishing classified 
government documents.  This cable serves as an update on all four 
cases.  END SUMMARY. 
 
YESERGEPOV -- AWAITING TRIAL 
 
3.  (SBU) Ramazan Yesergepov, the Editor-in-Chief of "Alma-Ata Info" 
newspaper remains in custody of the Zhambyl oblast branch of 
Committee for National Security (KNB) in Taraz on charges of 
disseminating classified information (see reftels).  His wife 
Raushan Yesergepova told us on February 25 that his court date is 
yet to be set, although she expects it to be announced soon. 
Yesergepova said her appeals to the Prosecutor General to have a 
different agency, not the KNB, investigate her husband's case and to 
have him released on bail have been denied.  She plans to present 
these appeals again once the trial begins.  Yesergepova reports that 
she has been visiting her husband regularly; he is in good health 
and reports no mistreatment. 
 
NURPEISOV -- THREE SUSPECTS ARRESTED 
 
4.  (SBU) Bakhytzhan Nurpeisov, the journalist for "Obshestvennaya 
Positsiya" newspaper who was attacked and robbed on February 5, has 
returned home from the hospital, although he continues to undergo 
medical treatment.  The Editor-in-Chief of "Obshestvennaya 
Positsiya" Rozlana Taukina alleged at the time that the attack was 
retaliation for Nurpeisov's articles about Astana Mayor 
Tasmagambetov's collection of rare cars.  On February 18, the Almaty 
police detained three suspects in the attack, all of them migrant 
workers from Shymkent, who were caught selling some of Nurpeisov's 
belongings.  The police are treating the case as an aggravated 
robbery.  Taukina remains convinced that there was a political 
motivation behind the assault.  We have been unable to reach 
Nurpeisov directly. 
 
BOLATAY -- POLICE SEARCHING FOR "HOOLIGANS" 
 
5.  (SBU) Yermek Bolatay, the web editor and part-time contributor 
to Radio Free Europe/Radio Azzatyk, was attacked on January 18. 
Several young men reportedly approached Boltai on the street and 
asked him for money; when he refused to hand any over, they 
assaulted him.  The police are treating the case as a "hooligan 
attack," but no suspects have been apprehended.  Bolatay is 
currently in Prague, and thus we were unable to reach him directly. 
 
MIUSOV -- CASE DISMISSED 
 
6.  (SBU) Artyom Miusov, a journalist for "Taszhargan" opposition 
paper, was attacked and stabbed three times on December 29.  His 
attackers reportedly asked his name before stabbing him.  Miusov 
spent a month in the hospital recovering from liver and lung 
injuries.  "Taszhargan" Editor-in-Chief Yermurat Bapi told us 
shortly after the attack that he was not convinced that the incident 
was aimed at the paper, because Miusov did not write critical 
articles about politically sensitive subjects.  Miusov filed a 
report with the police about the incident, but he told us on 
February 23 that the police dismissed his case claiming all the case 
documents had been lost.  He said he won't push to resume the 
investigation because he does not believe the police are keen on 
investigating his attack.  Miusov also told us that he has quit 
"Taszhargan" and is leaving opposition journalism as a result of the 
assault. 
 
 
ASTANA 00000351  002.2 OF 002 
 
 
7.  COMMENT:  The three assaults over a six-week period initially 
raised serious concerns about a coordinated, politically-motivated 
campaign to intensify pressure against Kazakhstan's opposition 
media.  While we can not dismiss the possibility of political 
motives, at this point there are indications that one or more of 
these assaults could be purely criminal in nature.  Nurpeisov's 
attackers did not just beat him, but rather robbed him of several 
very valuable items, including a notebook computer and a camera, and 
the police have arres
ted suspects who were reportedly trying to sell 
these items.  On various occasions, "Taszhargan" Editor-in-Chief 
Bapi has alleged that he himself has been the victim of 
politically-motivated assaults; however, he does not believe that 
Miusov was attacked because of his work for "Taszhargan."  END 
COMMENT. 
 
HOAGLAND

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