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Kazakh Court Upholds Sentences Of Former Journalist Union Head, Son


Seitqazy Mataev (right) and his son Aset in court in Astana (file photo)

ASTANA -- A court in Kazakhstan has upheld prison sentences handed down to the former head of the Kazakh Journalists' Union, Seitqazy Mataev, and his son Aset Mataev.

The Astana City Court ruled on December 9 that their prison sentences will remain unchanged, rejecting their appeals.

Seitqazy Mataev, 61, was found guilty of tax evasion and embezzlement in October and sentenced to six years in prison.

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

Both have denied the charges, and rights groups have said Seitqazy Mataev is being prosecuted on trumped-up charges in response to his work as head of the journalists' union.

Seitqazy Mataev's wife, Bayan Ramazanova, who is aiding in his defense, said the court's ruling will be further appealed.

In the December 9 ruling, the judge reduced lifetime bans on Seiqazy and Aset Mataev holding any state office or conducting commercial activity to 10-year prohibitions.

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    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

    RFE/RL's Radio Azattyq has been an important source of information for people in Kazakhstan for decades. In 2009, Azattyq won the prestigious 2009 Online Journalism Award for "standing in defense of citizen’s rights to seek and receive information."

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