NUR-SULTAN -- A court in Kazakhstan has sentenced the leader of a nongovernmental organization Zher Taghdyry (The Fate of the Land) to 2 years in prison on charges he and his supporters call politically motivated.
On October 29, the Saryarqa District Court in Nur-Sultan found Qaiyrly Omar guilty of abuse of power, dropped the initial embezzlement charge, and sentenced him on the same day.
Omar was arrested in July 2018 and accused of stealing money from his NGO and abusing his powers as the organization's chief. He has maintained his innocence, calling the case against him politically motivated.
Omar actively participated in protests across Kazakhstan against land reforms and a bill that would allow foreigners to rent agricultural lands.
Kazakh human rights organizations have recognized Omar as a political prisoner.