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Kazakh Land Law Protesters Face Criminal Charges

Hundreds of Kazakh activists have been detained this month in connection with planned legislation on the privatization of agricultural land. The proposed law has since been shelved.

Kazakh authorities say individuals recently arrested for taking part or calling for unsanctioned mass protests are facing charges of inciting ethnic discord and of attempting to seize power by force.

The Prosecutor-General's Office made the announcement on May 27, after hundreds of activists were detained ahead of nationwide protests against new legislation on the privatization of agricultural land planned for May 21.

Many activists have been released, but a number of them were fined or sent to prison for 10-15 days. Others were sent to pretrial detention as criminal charges against them are pending.

On May 5, President Nursultan Nazarbaev imposed a moratorium on the implementation of the controversial law until 2017, but critics of the legislation pledged to continue the protest movement afterward.

Based on reporting by and Kazinform