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Kazakh Activist Jailed Over Housing Protest

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- A Kazakh activist has been jailed for 15 days for organizing a protest against Almaty authorities over real-estate deals gone wrong, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

An administrative court in Almaty sentenced Yesenbek Okteshbaev for organizing the December 16 unsanctioned public gathering.

Okteshbaev, head of the Housing for People movement, was among dozens of people who protested in front of the Almaty Mayor's office and handed a petition to a representative of the municipal authorities demanding the immediate resignation of Deputy Mayor Serik Seidumanov.

Okteshbaev and his supporters say Seidumanov is responsible for the problems faced by people who have invested in new housing projects in Almaty, where construction has been frozen for months and sometimes years.

They also say Seidumanov's recent statements, in which he criticized villagers seeking to resettle in Almaty, were socially divisive.

Human rights activist Vadim Kuramshin told RFE/RL that Okteshbaev was summoned to the police station on December 19 for asking questions about last week's protest. He was taken to the court from the police station and sentenced to 15 days in jail.

Read in Kazakh here