Kazakh Court Orders Current Time Reporter to Leave Country

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A Kazakhstan court has ordered a reporter for Current Time to leave the country and has banned her from re-entering for five years, citing violations of the country’s immigration regulations.

The court in Nur-Sultan on Friday ordered Zhazgul Egemberdieva, a Kyrgyztan national, to leave within 10 days.

Kazakh officials alleged Egemberdieva failed to notify immigration authorities that she was staying in Kazakhstan longer than 30 days.

Management officials with Current Time, a Russian-language network led by RFE/RL in cooperation with VOA, said they were investigating the circumstances of the order.

Egemberdieva had been in Kazakhstan since May 3 as part of Current Time’s coverage of the June 9 presidential election.

The vote, which was won by Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev, the handpicked successor of longtime ruler Nursultan Nazarbaev, was criticized by international observers who cited “detentions of peaceful protesters, and widespread voting irregularities on election day [that] showed scant respect for democratic standards.”

Egemberdieva had been scheduled to help in coverage of more anti-government protests that were taking place in Nur-Sultan on Saturday.

Journalists harassed

Reporters for Current Time and RFE/RL in general have faced increased scrutiny and harassment in Kazakhstan and Central Asia more broadly in recent years.

Ahead of the Kazakh presidential election, more than a half dozen RFE/RL reporters, producers and videographers were denied accreditation to cover the vote.

During the vote itself, several reporters from RFE/RL and other media were briefly detained by Kazakh authorities.

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