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Kazakh Court Upholds Sentence Against Zhanaozen's Ex-Mayor


Oraq Sarbopeev (photo by Elena Kostyuchenko)
AQTAU, Kazakhstan -- A regional court in Kazakhstan has upheld the 10-year prison sentence for the former mayor of the western town of Zhanaozen.

Oraq Sarbopeev was found guilty of abuse of office and sentenced in September.

He was tried in connection with violent clashes between striking oil workers and police.

Police shot dead 16 people during clashes in December.

Authorities also have sought to prosecute a number of local officials suspected of stealing oil companies funds meant for employees.

Sarbopeev's predecessor, Zhalghas Babakhanov, was sentenced in September to two years in jail for embezzling oil company funds during his time as Zhanaozen mayor between 1999 and 2009.

In June, 13 people were sentenced to prison terms between three and seven years for inciting the Zhanaozen disorder.
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