The European Parliament has adopted a resolution "strongly" criticizing Kazakhstan for failure to respect political, media, and religious freedoms.
A posting on the parliament's website on April 18 cited the body's concerns about a Kazakh court's decision to ban some opposition parties, including the unregistered Algha! (Forward) party.
The resolution called for the release of Algha! leader Vladimir Kozlov, who is in prison after being convicted of inciting social unrest.
The resolution expressed concern about the detention of opposition leaders, journalists, and lawyers following trials "which fall short of international standards."
The European Parliament also urged Kazakh authorities to ease restrictions on independent labor unions and the ability of religious groups to register and to practice their beliefs