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Protesters Demand Fair Trial For Jailed Kazakh Rights Activist

Yevgeny Zhovtis in a Kazakh courtroom
Protesters held a rally at Kazakhstan's Embassy in Moscow on September 14 in support of jailed Kazakh rights activist Yevgeny Zhovtis, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

The dozen protesters called on the Kazakh government to ensure conditions for Zhovtis's fair trial in a written appeal addressed to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

Zhovtis, the director of the Kazakh NGO Bureau for Human Rights, was sentenced to four years in prison on manslaughter and traffic violation charges after his car struck and killed a man in July.

The United States, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and Human Rights Watch have called on Kazakh authorities to void or revise Zhovtis's sentence, which they consider unfair.

Zhovtis had spoken to the OSCE about the poor human rights situation in Kazakhstan shortly before the traffic accident.

The Moscow protest was organized by the International Committee on Due Course of Law and Youth Human Rights Movement.

Kyrgyz opposition activists are planning to hold a rally in support of Zhovtis on September 16 in front of the Kazakh Embassy in Bishkek.