09ASTANA545, KAZAKHSTAN: ADVOCACY GROUP ADDRESSES LETTER TO THE

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09ASTANA545 2009-03-30 09:12 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO3689
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 #0545/01 0890912
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 300912Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5041
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE 1416
RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0796
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 1499
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 0483
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 2232
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 2562
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFAAA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC 0979
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC 0892
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ASTANA 000545 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR SCA/CEN, DRL 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM SOCI KDEM KPAO KZ
SUBJECT:  KAZAKHSTAN:  ADVOCACY GROUP ADDRESSES LETTER TO THE 
SECRETARY REGARDING "TASZHARGAN" LIBEL CASE 
 
REF:  (A) ASTANA-ALMATY OFFICIAL-INFORMAL EMAIL, MARCH 25 
 (B) ASTANA-ALMATY OFFICIAL-INFORMAL EMAIL, MARCH 24 
 (C) ASTANA 0479 
 (D) ASTANA 0431 
 
1.  (U) Sensitive but unclassified.  Not for public Internet. 
 
2.  (U) This is an action request.  Please see paragraph 4. 
 
3.  (SBU) An ad-hoc advocacy group of journalists and NGO activists 
sent a letter via public mail received at Embassy Astana to the 
Secretary, expressing concerns about a libel suit filed by Roman 
Madinov, a member of the Mazhilis (the lower house of parliament), 
against the opposition newspaper "Taszhargan."  Para 5 contains an 
English-language translation of the full text of the letter, which 
also requests that we deny Madinov entry to the United States.  As 
reported in refs C and D, Madinov filed a libel suit against 
"Taszhargan" for an op-ed article that described him as a "land 
baron" and claimed that he had become a parliamentarian solely to 
advance his private business interests.  On February 26, an Almaty 
appellate court ordered "Taszhargan" to pay Madinov 30 million tenge 
(approximately $200,000) in damages, increasing ten-fold the 
original fine imposed by a lower-level court in January.  The 
letter, which eight journalists and NGO activists signed, asserts 
that libel suits like Madinov's "threaten independent journalists 
and the freedom of the press in Kazakhstan." 
 
4.  (SBU) ACTION REQUEST:  Post requests Department concurrence for 
the Ambassador to respond to the letter on the Secretary's behalf. 
None of the letter's signatories are prominent media or civil 
society figures, and none are known to post.  The Ambassador's 
response would stress that we are closely watching the "Taszhargan" 
case, and underline that in our ongoing dialogue with the 
government, we have urged Kazakhstan to continue its cooperation 
with the OSCE and ODIHR in bringing its laws, including its media 
legislation, fully in line with OSCE standards.  Since the group 
also asks us to deny Madinov entry to the United States, the 
Ambassador's response would explain that the U.S. visa regime is set 
by legislation which clearly lays out the permitted grounds for visa 
refusals.  END ACTION REQUEST. 
 
5.  (SBU) Begin text of letter: 
 
To Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton 
 
Dear Madame Secretary: 
 
Romin Rizovich Madinov, a member of the Mazhilis of the Parliament 
of the Republic of Kazakhstan, filed a lawsuit against an 
independent reporter from the "Taszhargan" newspaper regarding an 
article from April 24, 2008 entitled "Poor 'Latifundist'" with a 
claim of compensation for moral damages in the amount of 300 million 
tenge.  R.R. Madinov resolutely turned down a proposal for a 
peaceful settlement of the case.  On January 16, 2009, a court ruled 
that the newspaper and the author of the article should pay 
compensation in the amount of 3 million tenge.  The court ignored 
the motion from the defense attorney, Ganna Krasilnikova of the Adil 
Soz Foundation, to submit the text of the article for review by a 
commission of experts. 
 
On February 26, 2009, an Almaty city court reviewed the appeal (of 
the defense) and ruled that a total of 30 million tenge should be 
paid by the newspaper and the author.  This ruling, which 
immediately entered into legal force, will be appealed in a 
higher-level court.  After the case goes through all judicial stages 
in the Republic of Kazakhstan, an appeal will be filed with 
international judicial institutions.  We express our joint support 
to the author of the article. 
 
We would like to draw your attention to the fact that lawsuits 
against newspapers and journalists have become instruments of 
persecution and infringement on freedom of speech in Kazakhstan. 
Seven lawsuits have been filed against the "Taszhargan" newspaper. 
Their satisfaction will paralyze operation of this independent media 
 
ASTANA 00000545  002 OF 002 
 
 
outlet.  R.R. Madinov's lawsuit sets a precedent for large-scale 
persecution of independent journalists and media.  It is a threat to 
freedom of speech and the development of democracy in the Republic 
of Kazakhstan. 
 
We ask you to consider a possibility of banning entry visas to the 
U.S. for R.R. Madinov. 
 
Signatories: 
 
Bakhytzhan Toregozhina, organization Ar.Ruh.Hak 
Nurgul Malik, organization Ar.Ruh.Hak 
Alikhan Ramazanov, org
anization Shanyrak 
Sapura Zhusupova, organization Shanyrak 
Zhanar Kasymbekova, organization Ar.Ruh.Hak 
Eduard Nazarov 
Zhazira Abdeldaeva 
Korlan Dzhumasheva 
 
End text of letter. 
 
HOAGLAND

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