Kazakhstan: Journalist Ramazan Yesergepov faces the prospect of spending the next 8 years behind the bars
KazTag reports that the Taraz District Court of Kazakhstan chose arrest as the judicial restraint for chief editor of Alma-Ata Info Ramazan Yesergepov on January 9. Officers of the Jambyl Regional Department of National Security Committee detained Yesergepov on January 6. The journalist was charged with "unlawful compilation and proliferation of information containing state secrets" and "abuse of position". Locked up in a detention cell, Yesergepov went on hunger strike the following day.
The Taraz District Court amended the charges brought against the journalist. Human rights activist and journalist Vladimir Voevod told KazTag that Part 2 of Article 172 of the Penal Code had been amended for Part 4 of the same article. It means that Yesergepov now faces the prospect of spending the next 8 years in prison (he'd have drawn 3 years maximum under Part 2 of Article 172).
As Ferghana.Ru reported, Yesergepov was arrested for his piece "Who Rules the Country: President or National Security Committee?" Alma-Ata Info published on November 21, 2008. The piece in question featured a letter from chief of the Jambyl Regional Department of National Security Committee which secret services promptly pronounced a classified document. Yesergepov was told to reveal his sources and say who had given him the letter in the first place but he refused. Secret services searched Yesergepov's place and office and confiscated computer hard disks. Hospitalized with infarction, the journalist was unable to turn up for questioning. Neither did he turn up for questioning upon checking out of the hospital.
Yesergepov is currently in custody in the detention cell of the Jambyl Regional Department of National Security Committee.