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Kazakh Jailed On Separatism Charge

RIDDER, Kazakhstan -- A Kazakh citizen has been sentenced to five years in prison after being found guilty of inciting separatism via the Internet.

On November 18, the Ridder city court in northeast Kazakhstan found Igor Sychyov guilty of urging local residents to back separatism by posting a poll on the Internet asking whether the East Kazakhstan region should join Russia.

Sychyov, 26, went on trial on October 22. He was arrested earlier this year after he placed the poll on a social network.

Sychyov pleaded not guilty. He has said he will appeal the sentence.

At least three Kazakh nationals have been sentenced this year for inciting separatism and ethnic hatred via the Internet amid heightened government concern sparked by the crisis in eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists have seized control of parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

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