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Kazakhs Demand Release Of Jailed Activist

Vladimir Kozlov (center), leader of the unregistered Algha (Forward) party
Vladimir Kozlov (center), leader of the unregistered Algha (Forward) party
ALMATY -- Leaders of Kazakhstan's Communist Party and the United Social Democratic Azat (Free) Party have issued a joint statement demanding the release of a jailed activist, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Vladimir Kozlov, the leader of the nonregistered Algha (Forward) party, was arrested and sentenced to 10 days in jail for holding an unsanctioned public gathering on March 26. He and other party activists held a rally in Almaty demanding the release from prison of former Kazakh uranium-company head Mukhtar Dzhakishev.

Dzhakishev, the former director of the state company KazAtomProm, was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to 14 years in jail on March 12.

Algha party activists say Kozlov's arrest and sentencing are politically motivated. Opposition party leaders say Kozlov's arrest is further evidence of increasing pressure on dissent in Kazakhstan.