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Ex-Kazakh Opposition Group Leader Sentenced For 'Inciting Hatred'

Civil activist Olesya Khalabuzar after she was declared guilty of inciting ethnic hatred by an Almaty court on August 1.

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- A court in Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, has sentenced a former opposition leader to two years of restricted freedom.

Olesya Khalabuzar, leader of the Spravedlivost (Justice) party, was sentenced on August 1 after she pleaded guilty to inciting ethnic hatred.

Khalabuzar told RFE/RL she does not plan to appeal the sentence, which is, in effect, a suspended sentence with parole-like restrictions.

Khalabuzar's party was established in 2015 and it has positioned itself in opposition to the Kazakh government. The party has not been officially registered.

In March, the party's offices, Khalabuzar's apartment, and her mother's home were searched by police and afterwards she was charged with inciting ethnic hatred.

In May, Khalabuzar announced her decision to quit politics. Many suggested she was pressured into making the announcement.

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