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Another Kazakh Sentenced For Inciting Ethnic Hatred Online

  • RFE/RL

A court in Kazakhstan's northern city of Petropavlovsk has sentenced a man to three years in jail for "inciting interethnic hatred and discord via the Internet."

A regional deputy prosecutor, Arai Alimov, told reporters on July 31 that the 22-year-old defendant, whose surname was given as Alkhanashvili, was convicted of placing material on Russia's most popular social network, VKontakte, that insulted the feelings and dignity of ethnic groups.

No more details were given.

The North Kazakhstan region and its capital, Petropavl (Petropavlovsk in Russian), are home to a heavy population of ethnic Russians and Russian-speaking Kazakh citizens.

The announcement comes two weeks after a Western Kazakhstan resident identified as Mukhtar was said to have been found guilty of inciting ethnic hatred online and sentenced to three years of police supervision.

Trials against individuals charged with inciting ethnic hatred via the Internet have increased in Kazakhstan amid an ongoing crisis in which Russian-backed separatists seized control of parts of Ukraine's eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

In March, Tatyana Shevtsova-Valova, a woman in Kazakhstan's largest city, Almaty, received a suspended four-year sentence for inciting ethnic hatred online.

Investigators said that in posts on social networks including Facebook, Shevtsova-Valova used an ethnic slur against Kazakhs and suggested that Kazakhstan should become part of Russia, like Crimea did.

Russia forcibly annexed Crimea from Ukraine last year, after deploying troops and engineering the takeover of the regional legislature, in a move denounced by Kyiv, the West, and 100 countries in the UN General Assembly.

Moscow's seizure of Crimea and support for separatists fighting government forces in eastern Ukraine have raised concerns among Russia's neighbors that it may have designs on parts of their territory -- particularly those which, like Crimea, are home to many ethnic Russians.

In April, a court in Kazakhstan's western city of Atyrau sentenced a local resident to three years in jail for fighting alongside pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

It was the second case of a Kazakh citizen being sentenced for participation in the Ukrainian conflict, where more than 6,500 people have been killed since April 2014.

Based on reporting by Kazinform and