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Kazakh Activists Jailed On 'Hatred' Charges

A Kazakh court has handed out jail sentences to two civil rights activists after finding them guilty of "inciting social hatred."

The court in Almaty sentenced Serikzhan Mambetalin and Ermek Narymbaev to two and three years in prison, respectively, on January 22.

Both Mambetalin and Narymbaev pleaded not guilty, saying the charges against them were politically motivated.

The activists were arrested in mid-October after investigators accused them of posting materials "inciting social hatred" on Facebook.

Mambetalin and Narymbaev insist the Facebook posts were quotes from a book that is freely accessible on the Internet.

The activists have been known for their criticism of the Kazakh government.

In 2010, Narymbaev was sentenced to four years after he was arrested at a protest rally urging Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev to resign.

He was amnestied in 2012 after spending more than 1 1/2 years in jail on charges of resisting authority.

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