ASTANA – The Almaty specialized interdistrict investigation court ruled on Feb. 24 to arrest for two months a person suspected of coordinating provocative attacks against journalists, reported the court’s press service.
“The court decided to satisfy the request of the pre-trial investigation and authorized the use of a preventive measure in the form of an arrest for a period of two months until April 22,” the report reads.
The Kazakh authorities detained a foreign citizen whom they only identified as “O. Tokarev,” suspected of coordinating recent provocative attacks in Almaty. The police said the equipment he allegedly used to organize the attacks, place orders through anonymous Telegram messenger app accounts, choose and pay those who would carry out the attacks was found and seized at his temporary place of residence.
Eighteen people had earlier been detained in Astana and Almaty for committing illegal acts against journalists and bloggers over the last six months.
Twenty criminal cases have been initiated and are being investigated under articles 115 (threat), 147 (violation of privacy), 158 (obstruction of journalistic activities), 202 (intentional destruction of other people’s property), and 293 (hooliganism) of the Criminal Code of Kazakhstan.
Commenting on the arrest, Kazakh Minister of Information and Social Development Darkhan Kydyrali said the number of attacks on journalists has increased since last year.
“The President of Kazakhstan instructed law enforcement agencies to thoroughly investigate crimes against journalists. Eighteen people who committed illegal acts against journalists and bloggers have been detained. The ministry will stay on top of the investigation,” he said.