Three Russian journalists detained in Kazakhstan

Three Russian journalists covering riots in western Kazakhstan were detained without any reason on Sunday, Russia's Kommersant business daily said on its website.

"The journalists were detained Sunday by people with automatic rifles in the square of the town of Zhanaozen without the explanation of any reasons," Kommersant said. The three journalists were Kommersant special correspondent Vladimir Solovyov, photo correspondent Vasily Shavoshnikov, and also Lenta-ru correspondent Ilya Azar.

"During the detainment, some of their personal belongings were seized. The journalists were in Kazakhstan to cover the riots that had erupted in the country's west. In about four hours after they were detained, the journalists were released," the paper said. Kommersant editor-in-chief Mikhail Mikhailin later said that the journalists were released personally by Kazakhstan interior minister Kalmukhanbet Kasymov.

At least 11 people were killed and over 70 injured as striking oil workers clashed with police in the western town of Zhanaozen Friday. Eyewitnesses claim police fired on unarmed protesters, a charge denied by the authorities. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has ordered an investigation into the worst violence in the former Soviet state in years.

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