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Kazakh Activist Abishev Dies Three Months After Release From Prison

Kazakh activist Kenzhebek Abishev (file photo)
Kazakh activist Kenzhebek Abishev (file photo)

ALMATY, Kazakhstan --Noted Kazakh civil rights activist Kenzhebek Abishev has died at the age of 55, three months after he was released from prison.

Abishev's wife, Gulmira Abisheva, told RFE/RL that her husband died early on the morning of January 17 in what ambulance workers described as a heart attack.

Abishev was sentenced to seven years in prison in December 2018 after he and two other activists were found guilty of planning a "holy war" because they were spreading the ideas of the banned Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK) movement. His prison term was later cut by eight months.

The activist, who rejected all the charges against him and was declared a political prisoner by domestic human rights groups, was granted early release in October 2021.

In April last year, Abishev was rushed from prison to the Qapshaghai City Hospital as his condition worsened due to a hunger strike he had started to protest against his imprisonment and prison conditions in general.

Physicians then diagnosed him with coronary heart disease.

Human rights groups have criticized Kazakh authorities for years for stifling dissent and persecuting independent journalists.

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