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Kazakh journalist Seitkazy Mataev (file photo)

ASTANA -- A Kazakh court has sentenced the head of the Kazakh Journalists Union and his son to lengthy prison terms on corruption charges.

A court in Astana on October 3 found Seitqazy Mataev guilty of tax evasion and embezzlement, and sentenced him to six years in prison.

His son, Aset, the director of the KazTAG news agency, was sentenced to five years.

Both have denied the charges, and rights groups have said Seitqazy Mataev is being prosecuted on trumped-up charges in response to his work as head of the journalists union.

The trial has been delayed several times because of the 61-year-old's health issues.

The International Paralympic Committee kicked Belarusian official Andrey Fomachkin (pictured) out of the 2016 games in Brazil after he was seen carrying the Russian flag during the opening ceremony.

An official with the Belarusian Sports Ministry who marched in the Rio Paralympics' opening ceremony carrying a Russian flag will receive an apartment in Russia.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook on October 2 that an unnamed businessman decided to give an apartment to Andrey Fomachkin as a private gift for his "deed."

It was not clear where the apartment is located, but Zakharova wrote that Fomachkin has arrived in Moscow to receive his gift.

The International Paralympic Committee kicked Fomachkin out of the Paralympics in Brazil, after he was seen carrying the Russian flag during the games' opening event on September 7.

The committee had banned Russia from the games after reports by anti-doping regulators detailed a vast state-sponsored doping system that reportedly included both Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

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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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