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Vadim Kuramshin
ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan's Bureau for Human Rights has condemned the sentence of a prominent activist and called his case politically motivated.

In a statement issued on December 11, the bureau called on the Kazakh authorities to reopen the case against Vadim Kuramshin.

He was found guilty of extorting a bribe and sentenced to 12 years in prison on December 8.

Kuramshin, a defender of the rights of inmates in Kazakhstan's prisons, was first arrested in January and charged with fraud, extortion, and abuse of power.

In August, he was released after a court found him guilty of abusing his "responsibilities" as a human rights defender.

He was sentenced to one year of limited movement.

He was rearrested in October after prosecutors withdrew his initial sentence and sent his case for retrial.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Kazakh Service
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says a record 232 journalists are imprisoned worldwide.

In a report released on December 11, the U.S.-based press-freedom group says NATO-member Turkey is the world's biggest jailer of reporters, with 49 behind bars.

It says the second-worst jailer is Iran, with 45 jailed, while China is third, with 32 imprisoned journalists, 19 of them Tibetans or Uyghurs, whose communities have been seeking separation from Beijing.

The total of 232 imprisoned reporters is 53 more than the CPJ recorded last year and is the highest since the organization began conducting worldwide surveys in 1990.

The report says the most common charges that governments use to jail reporters include terrorism, treason, and subversion, with at least 132 journalists detained worldwide on such charges.

With reporting by AP

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.


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