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Kazakh Prosecutor Seeks Year In Prison For Activist Charged With Assaulting Police

Asya Tulesova
Asya Tulesova

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- The prosecutor in a high-profile case in Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, has asked a court to sentence civil right activist Asya Tulesova to one year in prison for allegedly knocking the hat off of a police officer during a recent protest and verbally insulting five other police.

Prosecutor Erlan Qulanbaev on August 11 also asked the Medeu District Court to impose a fine against Tulesova of 222,000 tenges, or about $530, in connection with the assault charges filed against her.

Tulesova has rejected the charges as politically motivated. But she has offered apologies to the six police officers who were involved in an altercation with her.

Tulesova, 36, was arrested two days after she took part in an unsanctioned demonstration in Almaty on June 6.

Investigators say Tulesova knocked the hat off of one police officer and verbally insulted his colleagues while they were forcibly detaining protesters at the rally.

More than 100 protesters were arrested at the June 6 rally -- which took place after calls for peaceful, nationwide gatherings were made by two opposition groups -- the unregistered Democratic Party of Kazakhstan and the banned Democratic Movement of Kazakhstan.

Tulesova, known for her civic engagement and environmental activism, gained broad notoriety in Kazakhstan in April 2019 when she held up a protest banner during a marathon race in Almaty with the words, "You can't run from the truth."

Tulesova and her friend Beibarys Tolymbekov were later sentenced to 15 days in jail over that protest on charges of violating Kazakhstan's restrictive public-assembly law.

Human Rights Watch has urged Kazakh authorities to drop all charges against Tulesova and immediately release her from custody.

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