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Supporter of Jailed Kazakh Rights Activist Fined

Andrei Sviridov
Andrei Sviridov
ALMATY -- An Almaty court has ruled that journalist Andrei Sviridov has to pay an $80 fine for holding an unsanctioned public protest, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Sviridov held a public action on September 16 in support of Yevgeny Zhovtis, the jailed director of the Kazakh NGO Bureau for Human Rights.

Zhovtis was sentenced earlier this month to four years in prison for his role in a deadly traffic accident in July.

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

Sviridov told RFE/RL he was following up on a public action by journalist Viktor Kovtunovsky titled "Today -- Zhovtis, Tomorrow -- You!" that was staged on Almaty's central square last week.

Kovtunovsky was fined about $213 for holding an unsanctioned public action.

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