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Kazakh Court Convicts Another Activist For Links With Banned Political Group


Kazakh activist Qairat Sultanbek has called the ruling politically motivated.

ORDABASY, Kazakhstan -- An activist in Kazakhstan's southern region of Turkistan has been handed a parole-like sentence for his links with a banned political movement.

The Ordabasy district court on January 26 sentenced Qairat Sultanbek to one year of "freedom limitation" after finding him guilty of involvement in the activities of the banned opposition Koshe (Street) Party, which has links with another outlawed party, the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK) movement.

The 47-year-old activist told RFE/RL after his sentence was pronounced that he will appeal the ruling, calling it politically motivated.

Sultanbek was placed under house arrest after he was detained and charged in September.

Several activists across the Central Asian nation have been handed "freedom limitation" sentences for their involvement in the activities of the Koshe Party and DVK, and for taking part in rallies organized by the two groups..

DVK is led by Mukhtar Ablyazov, the fugitive former head of Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank and an outspoken critic of the Kazakh government. Kazakh authorities labeled DVK extremist and banned the group in March 2018.

Human rights groups have said that Kazakhstan’s law on public gatherings contradicts international standards as it requires preliminary permission from authorities to hold rallies and envisions prosecution for those organizing and participating in unsanctioned rallies even though the nation’s constitution guarantees its citizens the right of free assembly.

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