Activists in Kazakhstan say the government is trying to frighten society with the recent manslaughter conviction of a leading human rights activist, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.
Yevgeny Zhovtis, director of the NGO Bureau of Human Rights, was sentenced to four year in prison last month for his role in a deadly traffic accident.
On October 19, an Almaty Oblast court in the city of Taldy-Qorghan upheld his conviction and sentence.
Activists and opposition leaders say the authorities are retaliating against Zhovtis's activities as a human rights defender.
An organization called the Group to Defend Zhovtis issued a statement today saying the "verdict goes against the principles of a free society and a democratic state. It is a mockery of Kazakhstan's obligations to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and a demonstration of disrespect to the international community's opinion, which demanded a fair trial for Yevgeny Zhovtis."
The statement concludes that the verdict against Zhovtis is an attempt by the Kazakh authorities "to frighten society and to return to a totalitarian system."