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Kazakh Activists, RFE/RL Correspondent Jailed


Seven activists in Astana who protested against Kazakhstan's entry into the Eurasian Economic Union (EES) have been sentenced to jail terms of up to four days.

In addition, three journalists who covered the May 27 protest in the town of Ilyinka, near Astana, were sentenced to four days of administrative arrest, including RFE/RL correspondent Orken Zhoyamergen.

Zhoyamergen was found guilty of minor hooliganism late on May 27.

In a statement, RFE/RL's Editor In Chief Nenad Pejic condemned Zhoyamergen's arrest as a violation of media freedom. "He should be released immediately together with the other journalists," Pejic said.

Police initially detained 20 activists who had gathered in Ilyinka to plan a protest action scheduled for May 29, the day when Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev is expected to host his Russian and Belarusian counterparts -- Vladimir Putin and Alyaksandr Lukashenka -- and sign an agreement on the creation of the EES.

Half of the detained men and women were later released.
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    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

    RFE/RL's Radio Azattyq has been an important source of information for people in Kazakhstan for decades. In 2009, Azattyq won the prestigious 2009 Online Journalism Award for "standing in defense of citizen’s rights to seek and receive information."

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