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Jailed Kazakh Activist Transferred To House Arrest


Ermek Narymbaev in court in January

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Jailed Kazakh civil-rights activist Ermek Narymbaev has been transferred to house arrest.

His wife, Zoya Narymbaeva, told RFE/RL that a court in Almaty ruled on February 22 that her husband could serve his term under house arrest.

On January 22, Narymbaev and his colleague, Serikzhan Mambetalin, were sentenced to three and two years in prison, respectively, for inciting social hatred.

Both pleaded not guilty, saying the charges against them were politically motivated.

Mambetalin was released on January 30 after he publicly "repented" of "his mistakes" and asked the authorities to release him.

Narymbaev refused to "repent" and had been on hunger strike since January 18, demanding his immediate release.

Mambetalin and Narymbaev, who are known for their criticism of the government, were arrested in mid-October.

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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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