QAPSHAGHAI, Kazakhstan -- A court in Kazakhstan has approved a request for early release filed by jailed activist Almat Zhumaghulov, whom rights organizations in the Central Asian nation have recognized as a political prisoner.
Zhumaghulov's lawyer, Aidyn Tabyldiev, told RFE/RL that the Qapshaghai City Court in the southern region of Almaty agreed on September 15 to release Zhumaghulov on parole.
The court, which had rejected several previous parole requests by Zhumaghulov, did not say why it had granted parole this time.
Tabyldiev said his client had been diagnosed with a herniated disc, while Zhumgahulov’s family members have said his condition due to an ulcer has worsened in recent months.
Zhumaghulov was sentenced to eight years in prison in December 2018 after he and two other defendants were found guilty of planning a "holy war" because they were spreading the ideas of the banned Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK) opposition movement.
Zhumaghulov pleaded not guilty, calling the case against him and his co-defendants politically motivated.
The DVK was founded by Mukhtar Ablyazov, an outspoken critic of the Kazakh government who has been residing in France for several years.
Ablyazov has been organizing unsanctioned anti-government rallies in Kazakhstan via the Internet while in exile.