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Kazakh Journalist Union Ex-Chief's Prison Sentence Shortened

Kazakh journalist Seitqazy Mataev (file photo)

ASTANA -- A six-year prison term handed down to former Kazakh Journalists' Union chief Seitqazy Mataev has been shortened by two years and eight months.

Mataev's lawyer, Madina Bakieva, said on April 18 that her client's jail term was cut under an amnesty that was announced in December to mark the 25th anniversary of Kazakhstan's independence.

Mataev, 62, was found guilty of tax evasion and embezzlement in October and sentenced to six years in prison.

His son, Aset Mataev, who was director of the private KazTAG news agency before his conviction, was found guilty of embezzlement and sentenced to five years in prison.

Both have denied the charges, and rights groups say Seitqazy Mataev was prosecuted on trumped-up charges in response to his work as head of the journalists’ union.

With reporting by KazTAG