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U.S. Embassy statement on recent attacks against independent media in Kazakhstan

The U.S. Embassy was deeply concerned to learn of the arson attack that destroyed the offices of the weekly newspaper Delovoye Obozreniye Respublika on May 22. This act of violence raises serious questions about the safety of the independent media in Kazakhstan.

Yesterday's fire came on the heels of other incidents directed against independent media outlets, including the May 3 arson attack against the Ak Zhaiyk publishing house in Atyrau and the repeated vandalizing of Tan TV's feeder cable in Almaty. The attack on Respublika was especially deplorable because it risked the lives of the many people who live in the same building.

Ambassador Larry Napper met today with the staff of Delovoye Obozreniye Respublika and visited the remains of their office. The Ambassador has been in contact with appropriate law enforcement officials of the Republic of Kazakhstan to urge a rapid and thorough investigation in order to bring the perpetrators of this violent act to justice.

May 23, 2002

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