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Kazakh Activists Jailed Ahead Of Rallies Planned By Banned Opposition Group

Two of the activists were jailed for taking part in a rally in front of the EU office in the Kazakh capital on November 27. 

NUR-SULTAN -- Three Kazakh civil-rights activists have been jailed ahead of planned human rights rallies in the capital, Nur-Sultan.

Colleagues and friends of Marat Musabaev, Gulmira Khalyqova, and Ghalia Tamambaeva, told RFE/RL on December 10 that the three were sentenced to jail terms "to prevent their participation" in rallies planned for December 16.

According to the activists, a court in Nur-Sultan late on December 9 found Khalyqova and Tamambaeva guilty of taking part in an unsanctioned rally in front of the European Union office in the Kazakh capital on November 27.

The two, along with other activists, had urged EU officials to pressure Kazakh authorities over human and civil rights in the Central Asian state.

The two women were sentenced to 10 days in jail each.

Musabaev was found guilty of calling via the Internet for an unsanctioned rally in Nur-Sultan on December 16, his colleagues said.

There was no official confirmation of the trio's jailing.

The opposition Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK) movement established by Mukhtar Ablyazov, a fugitive tycoon and opposition politician, has announced plans to organize rallies in Nur-Sultan and Almaty, as well as in other towns and cities across the country on December 16, Kazakhstan's Independence Day.

December 16 also coincides with the 33rd anniversary of mass anti-Soviet demonstrations in Kazakhstan's former capital, Almaty, and the eighth anniversary of a deadly police crackdown against protests by oil workers in the southwestern town of Zhanaozen.

A court in Kazakhstan has banned the DVK movement, branding it an extremist organization.

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