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Kazakh Ex-Official Gets Seven Years In Prison For Ordering Attack On Activist

Galina Arzamasova (center) stands outside the Talghar district court on March 17.
Galina Arzamasova (center) stands outside the Talghar district court on March 17.

TALGHAR, Kazakhstan -- A former local official has been sentenced to seven years in prison in Kazakhstan's southern Talghar district for ordering the shooting of a civil-rights activist.

The Talghar district court on March 17 found Nurghali Appazov, the former governor of the subdistrict of Panfilov, guilty of abuse of office and inflicting bodily harm on Galina Arzamasova, and sentenced him the same day.

The court also ordered Appazov to pay 1.4 million tenges ($3,400) to Arzamasova as compensation and barred Appazov from serving in public office for life.

Arzamasova was shot from a distance in late August 2019 as she was approaching the local governor's office, with whom she was scheduled to discuss government plans to sell land belonging to local parks.

A day after the incident, Appazov's driver, Ghani Smanov, was arrested and charged in connection with the shooting. Smanov was found guilty of inflicting bodily harm but the court released him from custody because Arzamasova forgave him.

A small projectile, possibly shot from an air rifle from a vehicle, hit Arzamasova in the pelvis. She told RFE/RL then that she was confident the attack was linked to her civil-rights activities.

The 64-year-old activist, well-known for her campaign demanding more transparency in local politics, has said she was attacked twice by unknown assailants in 2017. She also says her house was once burglarized and targeted in an attempted arson attack.

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