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Kazakh Activist Announces Hunger Strike Over Land Reforms


ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- The head of a nongovernmental organization in Kazahstan that helps with the legal defense of jailed journalists has started a hunger strike to protest the government's controversial land reform program.

Ramazan Esergepov, president of Journalists in Trouble, announced his hunger strike in Almaty on June 20.

Esergepov is calling on the government to make "clear explanations" about its postponed agricultural land privatization plan.

He also wants authorities to release information about activists jailed for protesting the plan.

In April and May, thousands across Kazakhstan protested against a land privatization plan that had been scheduled to begin on July 1.

The protests led the government to delay implementation of the plan until 2017.

But hundreds of protesters were arrested.

Many were released later but several remain in pre-trial detention on charges of inciting social discord.

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