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ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- An ethnic Kurd has been sentenced in Kazakhstan to 20 years in prison and had his property confiscated after being found guilty of the rape and murder of an ethnic Kazakh girl, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

The sentence was handed down on May 30 at the end of the trial of Akhmed Kakhaogly, 22, from the village of Besaghash. The proceedings were held behind closed doors in the Almaty regional court and only the victim's relatives were allowed to attend the hearings.

The body of Zhanaiym Sydyqova, 17, was found near Besaghash on February 25.

Kakhaogly is an ethnic Kurdish citizen of Kazakhstan, and police had to intervene to prevent outraged villagers from burning down his house after he was accused of the crime.

Local authorities also managed to prevent any further reprisals against Kurds in the village.

There are some 8,000 ethnic Kurds living in Kazakhstan, mostly in the southern part of the country. They were forcibly deported from the Caucasus region by order of Soviet leader Josef Stalin in the 1930s and in 1944.

Read more in Kazakh here
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