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Rally Held To Support Jailed Kazakh Rights Activist

The latest protest in support of Yevgeny Zhovtis
The latest protest in support of Yevgeny Zhovtis
ALMATY -- Independent journalist Sergey Duvanov and "Jas Alash" newspaper editor Ryspek Sarsenbayuly held a public protest in support of jailed Kazakh rights activist Yevgeny Zhovtis, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

The September 23 protest was a follow-up to the demonstration "Today -- Zhovtis, Tomorrow -- You!" staged on Almaty's central square by journalist Viktor Kovtunovsky on September 9.

Protesters called Zhovtis's trial "politically motivated."

Although officials from the Prosecutor-General's Office warned the protesters about holding an unsanctioned public action, no arrests were made.

A Kazakh court this month sentenced Zhovtis, the director of the nongovernmental organization Bureau for Human Rights, to four years in prison for manslaughter and violating traffic regulations following a July accident in which the car he was driving struck and killed a man on a highway.

Zhovtis has filed an appeal of his sentence but a date for the hearing has not been scheduled.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the United States, and the European Parliament have expressed concern over Zhovtis's case and human rights groups such as Freedom House have called his trial unfair.

Last week protesters held rallies supporting Zhovtis in front of the Kazakh embassies in Moscow, Bishkek, and Warsaw.

Kazakhstan will take over the chair of the OSCE in January.