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Kazakh reporter sued for alleging abuse of children

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Summary of story from Rferl.org, August 26, 2011

Alima Abdirova, a rights activist and journalist in Kazakhstan, is being sued for libel after she alleged children at a special needs school were being abused.

Abdirova wrote an article for a local newspaper in May claiming that children at Aqtobe boarding school were subject to beatings and neglect.

Irina Dombrovskaya, the school’s former director, says Abdirova’s comments unfairly portrayed the situation. She is demanding 5 million tenge ($34,000) for moral damages and 60,000 tenge ($400) for court costs.

Abdirova said the court ignored some testimony, including that of a former student who alleged violence and other abuses at the school.

She believes that the libel case against her is retaliation by the state security committee for her coverage of security problems in Western Kazakhstan.

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