Kazakhstan's Prosecutor-General Zhaqip Asanov has issued a warning that it is a crime to spread "false information about land privatization."
In his April 28 statement, Asanov said information that has been published by media and on the Internet in recent days about possible land ownership by foreigners was "false."
He said "the false data contain calls for unauthorized public gatherings and elements of inciting social discord, which is punishable by law."
Asanov's warning came a day after hundreds of people rallied in Kazakhstan's northwestern city of Aqtobe and the northeastern city of Semei to protest against the government's decision to privatize public land through auctions beginning on July 1.
On April 24, at least 1,000 residents of the western city of Atyrau protested against the plan. The protesters said the land should not be privatized or rented to foreigners.
On April 26, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev said foreigners would be allowed only to rent agricultural land under leases ranging in length from 10 to 25 years.