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Kazakh Activist Sues Court For Wrongful Imprisonment

Kazakh police detained opposition activist Zhanna Baitelova in Almaty in August for picketing the offices of the ruling Nur-Otan party.
ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- A Kazakh activist has filed a lawsuit against a court in Almaty, claiming she was wrongfully imprisoned earlier this year, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Zhanna Baitelova of the opposition Socialist Movement of Kazakhstan was jailed for two weeks for staging a protest to demand the release from jail of a labor lawyer who represented striking oil workers in Kazakhstan's western Manghystau Province.

Baitelova told RFE/RL on November 23 that she filed the lawsuit against the Almaty city administrative court the previous day.

She said the verdict against her in August was based on an article in the Criminal Code that applies solely to people with a previous criminal record.

Baitelova was one of three activists detained in Almaty on August 17 for picketing the offices of the ruling Nur-Otan party in support of lawyer Natalya Sokolova, who was jailed for six years in August for "igniting social hatred."

The other two activists -- Arman Ozhaubaev and Dmitry Tikhonov -- were sentenced to five days' administrative detention.

Thousands of oil workers in Manghystau have been on strike since May to demand a pay raise; the lifting of restrictions on the activities of independent labor unions in the region; and equal rights with foreign workers.

Read more in Kazakh here