MOSCOW (AP) – Prosecutors in Kazakhstan have characterized foreign correspondents as “evil” in an indictment accusing 37 residents of a western oil town of inciting and participating in mass unrest that led to at least 16 deaths.
The unrest in Zhanaozen in December came after a seven-month-long occupation of the main square by oil workers demanding higher salaries.
Among the correspondents named was an Associated Press reporter who spoke by telephone to people in Zhanaozen. He was not charged.
One of the 37 defendants, Roza Tuletayeva, told the AP she had seen at least five people killed when police opened fire on the crowd. At the time, officials were still denying reports of gunfire and insisting there were no deaths.
The indictment includes transcripts from intercepted mobile phone conversations between a Human Rights Watch researcher, journalists and Tuletayeva.
The Prosecutor General’s Office was unable immediately to explain why the indictment referred to the foreign journalists as “evil-doers.”
The disturbances in Zhanaozen began when city authorities attempted to hold a concert near the site of the workers’ sit-in. A confrontation with police descended into rioting in which dozens of offices and businesses were destroyed.
In the trial, which began in late March, prosecutors have argued the riots were planned in advance, possibly with the help of unnamed foreign elements.
New York-based Human Rights Watch has demanded that Kazakhstan suspend the trial, saying many defendants claim they were beaten and subject to other physical abuse while in custody.
Earlier this week, President Nursultan Nazarbayev, a former Communist party boss who has led Kazakhstan for more than two decades, described his concerns over what he called the dangers posed by international media.
“The desire to use modern information technologies and influence political processes in certain countries is a threat,” he told the Russian state-controlled channel Rossiya-24.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food