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Kazakh Activist Detained For Taking Part In Unsanctioned Rally Commemorating Campaigner's Death

Aitbai Aliev (center) and other activists take part in a commemoration event earlier this month for rights activist Dulat Aghadil, who died in February.

A Kazakh activist has been sentenced to 10 days of administrative detention for taking part in an unsanctioned rally commemorating prominent civil right campaigner Dulat Aghadil, who died in custody in February.

Aitbai Aliev’s family said that the activist was detained by police in the southern province of Qyzylorda on August 26 and sentenced about 30 minutes later by a court in another province.

"They detained my father at around 5:35 p.m…Half-an-hour later, at 6:00 p.m., a district court in Aqmola Province held a trial via a video link," his son told RFE/RL.

Aliev was sentenced on August 26 after "pleading guilty," a document from an Aqmola court reads.

In July, Aliev was found guilty of "involvement in the activities of a banned extremist group" and was sentenced to restricted freedom -- a form of non-custodial sentence -- for six months.

That sentencing came after Aliev expressed support for the banned Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan movement led by fugitive opposition politician Mukhtar Ablyazov.

On August 8, Aliev joined dozens of other Kazakh activists in Aghadil’s home village of Talapker in Aqmola Province.

They walked from Aghadil’s family home to the village cemetery where he was buried to commemorate the civil rights campaigner.

Aghadil, 43, died in mysterious circumstances while being held in pretrial detention in the capital, Nur-Sultan, in late February, just one day after being arrested for failing to comply with a court order to report to local police.

Authorities said Aghadil died from a heart attack, but his family and fellow rights defenders say he had no history of heart issues.

Rallies were held in Nur-Sultan and other cities in February and March to demand a thorough investigation into his death.

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