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Kazakh Civil Rights Activist Gets One Year In Prison For 'Inflicting Bodily Damage'

Kazakh rights activist Sanavar Zakirova (file photo)

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- A well-known Kazakh civil rights activist, Sanavar Zakirova, has been sentenced to one year in prison for 'inflicting bodily damage' on a 39-year-old woman, which the activist denies.

The Medeu district court in Almaty ruled on July 15 that Zakirova will serve her term at a minimum-security correctional facility.

The 52-year-old activist was accused of assaulting the daughter of a woman who had hurled vulgarities at a rally in March.

Zakirova, who took part in the trial via a video link from home, told RFE/RL that all accusations against her are groundless and that she will appeal the ruling.

About two hours after Judge Zalina Makharadze pronounced the sentence, police arrived at Zakirova's home and arrested her.

Zakirova is well known for her political and civil-rights activities.

'Wrong Court Decisions'

She was an initiator of and leading participant in rallies in Almaty and Nur-Sultan, the capital, last year by residents of Kazakhstan's different regions, demanding action on what they called "wrong court decisions" in various cases.

In March 2019, Almaty city authorities denied Zakirova permission to hold a congress to establish a new political party, Our Right.

In November, Zakirova and two other activists were found guilty by a court in Almaty of distributing false information about the ruling Nur-Otan party over the Internet.

They were ordered to pay the equivalent of $15,000 to the party. Zakirova and her supporters said then that the case was politically motivated.

Days later Zakirova and three other female activists mocked Nur-Otan, staging a public action -- asking worshipers outside a mosque in Nur-Sultan for money to help pay a fine to the ruling party.

Police detained the women at the time and fined them the equivalent of $32 each for causing a public nuisance.

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    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service offers informed and accurate reporting in the Kazakh and Russian languages about issues that matter in Kazakhstan, while providing a dynamic platform for audience engagement and the free exchange of news and ideas.