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Kaliňák: Inspectors will look into police action against Kazakh exile

Slovakia's Interior Ministry will look into what some people have called a brutal police action against Kazakh journalist Bali Marzec on November 21, Minister Robert Kaliňák said after meeting Polish consul Ursula Szultzyk-Sliwinska the next day.

Marzec, currently living in exile in Poland, had come to protest against visiting Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev at the Presidential Palace in Bratislava.

Kalinak said he regretted the incident, in which the Kazakh journalist was forcibly detained by the police. He suggested that Marzec should tell her side of the story to ministry inspectors.

A ministry spokesperson was more critical of Marzec, however.

"She failed to obey a police officer's warning that she was disturbing the peace and committing an offence against law and order,” the spokesperson said. “She resisted arrest, kicking out in the police car and assaulting one officer, which is why restraining measures were used against her."

In a 20-minute speech delivered ahead of the arrival of Nazarbayev at the Presidential Palace, Marzec praised the right to freedom of assembly and expression in Slovakia, claiming that events in Kazakhstan were far from democratic. Several journalists and members of the opposition died under mysterious circumstances, and freedom of assembly is impossible. All existing media are pro-government, and the government recently blocked five opposition websites, she said.

After the confrontation with police, Marzec agreed not to call out during the welcoming ceremony and anthems for Nazarbayev. When the Kazakh anthem began playing, however, she started speaking through a megaphone and was immediately detained.


Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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