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Amnesty Declares Dissident Kazakh Theater Director 'Prisoner Of Conscience'

Bolat Atabaev faces charges of "inciting social hatred."
Bolat Atabaev faces charges of "inciting social hatred."
The human rights group Amnesty International has declared detained pro-reform Kazakh theater director Bolat Atabaev a "prisoner of conscience."

In a statement, the London-based rights group called the charges against Atabaev "trumped up," saying he had been detained "solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression."

Atabaev, who was arrested last week, faces charges of "inciting social hatred" in connection with last year's protests by striking oil workers in the western town of Zhanaozen, where police shot dead at least 16 people in mid-December.

The term "prisoner of conscience" refers to people jailed because of their political, religious or other beliefs.

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