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Four Kazakh Activists Receive Parole-Like Restrictions For Supporting Banned Opposition Group

Three of the activists (back row, left to right) Anuar Ashiraliev, Oksana Shevchuk, and Gulzipa Zhaukerova in court on November 19.

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Four Kazakh activists have been sentenced to one year of freedom limitation -- a sentence with parole-like restrictions -- for supporting a banned opposition movement.

A court in Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, pronounced its ruling against Anuar Ashiraliev and three women, Oksana Shevchuk, Gulzipa Zhaukerova, and Zhazira Demeuova, on November 19.

The court also sentenced Ashiraliev, Zhaukerova, and Demeuova to 100 hours of community work each.

The four were arrested in July for attending rallies in May to protest an early presidential election in Kazakhstan as well as the renaming of the capital, Astana, as Nur-Sultan after the name of former President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

Demeuova was later transferred to house arrest.

The arrest of the three women, who are all mothers of young children, prompted an outcry in Kazakhstan.

Investigators have charged that the four activists are members or supporters of the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan, a banned political party led by the self-exiled former banker and businessman Mukhtar Ablyazov.

Ablyazov, who has lived outside of Kazakhstan since 2009, is an outspoken opponent of Kazakhstan’s governing elite.

In 2018, a court in the Kazakh capital banned the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan as an extremist organization.

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