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Kazakh Oil Workers Prosecuted For Hunger Strike


Hundreds of oil workers who had been on strike since January 5, protesting the closure of a confederation of independent labor unions, stopped their protest on January 21 following the court's ruling.

AQTAU, Kazakhstan -- Dozens of oil workers are facing court hearings in Kazakhstan's western region of Manghystau after a local court found their hunger strike illegal.

Hundreds of oil workers who had been on strike since January 5, protesting the closure of a confederation of independent labor unions, stopped their protest on January 21 following the court's ruling.

Fifteen employees of the Oil Construction Company were found by a court on January 21 to have violated laws on public gatherings and fined $135-$340 each. Eight of those 15, along with 20 other workers, faced hearings on January 23 in the regional capital, Aqtau, on charges of causing $9,000 damage to the company.

Fourteen other protesters face court hearings the town of Shetpe, an RFE/RL correspondent reported from the site. It is not clear what they were charged with.

Two union leaders at OCC, Amin Eleusinov and Nurbek Qushaqbaev, were arrested on criminal charges on January 21. Eleusinov was charged with embezzlement, and Qushaqbaev was charged with organizing an illegal hunger strike.

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