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Kazakh Protesters Demand Release Of Jailed Politicians, Activists

The demonstrators held a banner reading "Liberty to political prisoners!" and chanted "Freedom!"

NUR-SULTAN -- About 20 men and women have rallied outside a building housing several European countries' embassies in Kazakhstan's capital, Nur-Sultan, demanding that the authorities immediately release jailed politicians and activists.

The demonstrators held a banner reading "Liberty to political prisoners!" and chanted "Freedom!"

They were calling for the release of the former head of the Kazatomprom nuclear agency, Mukhtar Dzhakishev, dissident poet Aron Atabek, and civil rights activists Maks Bokaev, Almat Zhumaghulov, and Kenzhebek Abishev.

The also demanded the immediate release of several civil-rights and opposition activists who are currently under investigation for taking part in unsanctioned rallies and are either under house arrest or in pretrial detention.

One of the protesters, Maigul Sadyqova made a statement in English, saying: "These people are innocent, and they are being held behind bars for nothing. We demand their immediate release!"

In the last several weeks, rallies demanding the release of political prisoners have been held in several towns and cities across the former Soviet republic.

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