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Kazakh Woman Dies After Self-Immolation

ASTANA -- A Kazakh woman who set herself on fire in front of the ruling Nur-Otan party's headquarters in Astana on June 20 has died, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Interior Minister Qalmukhamet Qasymov told journalists on June 21 that the woman was hospitalized with burns over 95 percent of her body and died later in an Astana clinic.

Qasymov said the woman was protesting her son's 10-year imprisonment for a drugs-related crime.

The woman disagreed with the verdict and had appealed to other courts and the presidential Nur-Otan party asking for help to mitigate her son's punishment.

The woman’s name has not been made public.

Nur-Otan officials were not immediately available for comment.

Bright Motherland

Nur-Otan can be translated from Kazakh as Bright Motherland or The Motherland's Light.

The party was set up by President Nursultan Nazarbaev in 1999 as Otan (Motherland).

In December 2006, the party was renamed Nur-Otan. The move sparked some criticism by opposition groups, who considered the change part of Nazarbaev's growing personality cult as his first name -- Nursultan -- also includes the word nur (light).

Since June 2009 the party has occupied all seats in the lower chamber of the Kazakh Parliament, the Mazhilis.

Nazarbaev is officially Nur-Otan's chairman.

Read more in Kazakh here