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Kazakh Activist Jailed Over Protest For Labor Lawyer

Natalya Sokolova was jailed for six years for "igniting social hatred."
ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- A Kazakh activist has been jailed for 14 days for staging a protest demanding the release from jail of a labor lawyer who represented striking oil workers, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

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

The other two activists, Arman Ozhaubaev and Dmitry Tikhonov, were released today after spending five days in jail.

Tikhonov told RFE/RL immediately after his release that he and Ozhaubaev were treated badly by prison guards, and general conditions in the detention center were "inhuman."

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

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