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Kazakh Activists Pressured Ahead Of Planned Protest 

  • RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

A Kazakh activist has been jailed and several others have been warned by police that they will face 'severe legal consequences' if they take part in unsanctioned rallies against legislation on the privatization of agricultural land.

The moves by police on May 16 and May 17 came ahead of protests against new land privatization laws that are planned for May 21 across Kazakhstan.

Activists plan to rally despite an order issued by President Nursultan Nazarbaev that postpones the implementation of the legislation until sometime in 2017.

An activist in the western city of Oral, Zhanat Esentaev, was sentenced to three days in jail on May 17 for "inciting social discord."

Police in the southern city of Talghar detained activist Manas Abdimanap on May 16 on suspicion of distribution of "illegal leaflets."

Authorities did not provide further details.

Police also searched homes of several activists in Astana and in the western cities of Oral and Atyrau on May 16 and May 17.

Nazarbaev's order came after hundreds of people rallied across the country against the land privatization plan, which would allow foreigners to lease local agricultural plots under agreements that last as long as 25 years.