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Kazakh Activist Gets Jail Term For Alleged Insurrection

Defendant Vladimir Kozlov (right), leader of the unregistered Algha! party, listens to someone from the dock during his trial in the city of Aqtau on October 8.
AQTAU, Kazakhstan -- Kazakh opposition leader Vladimir Kozlov has been sentenced to 7 1/2 years in jail, while two co-defendants avoided jail time with suspended sentences for their suspected roles in an allegedly insurrectionist group.

Opposition activists Serik Saparghali and Aqzhanat Aminov received suspended sentences of four and three years in prison, respectively.

All three were found guilty on October 8 of forming and leading an illegal group, inciting social hatred, and calling for the violent overthrow of Kazakhstan's constitutional order.

The charges were connected to a mass strike by oil workers in the country's west that sparked violence in December 2011, when 17 people were killed, most of them in the town of Zhanaozen in a clash with police.

Kozlov, the 52-year-old leader of the unregistered Algha! (Forward!) opposition party, says the case is politically motivated.
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