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Kazakhstan blocks opposition websites

On October 18, 2007, Kazakhstan has blocked access to a number of independent websites switching off main opposition outlets including kub.kz, geo.kz, zonakz.net and inkar.info.

All those websites published links to audiofiles of telephone conversations of high-ranking officials in Kazakhstan, freely available on the Net” Rachid Nougmanov, from the International Freedom Network, said in an email.

According to Reuters: “In the transcripts, officials use strong language to discuss Nazarbayev's ex son-in-law, Rakhat Akiyev, who fell out with the Kazakh leader this year and currently lives in exile in Europe.

On October 23, Kub.kz has been officially notified of its closure by the Kazakhstan Network Information Center (KazNIC). Here is a copy of the letter:

kub.kz suspended

It seems that this is not the first time that Kub.kz has been blocked. According to the last report (PDF) from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe – “Internet Governance in Kazakhstan”, by Rachid Nougmanov – which paints a grim picture of the Internet situation in the country, “kub.kz was blocked for more than three years by Kazakhtelecom and Nursat, from January 2002 to April 2005.

The situation with the four sites points directly at the violation of people's constitutional rights,the blocked website owners said in a statement issued jointly with human rights activists and online journalists during a press-conference in Almaty. “It is clear that whoever ordered them to be blocked did not think much about the legality of their actions. They were most likely driven by political considerations.”

In December 2005, the right to use the domain name borat.kz owned by the English comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, who had made the controversial film “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan“, was suspended by the Association of IT Companies. “We’ve done this so he can’t badmouth Kazakhstan under the .kz domain name,” the Association’s President Nurlan Isin said. “He can go and do whatever he wants at other domains.

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