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Kazakh Union Activist Sentenced Over Oil Workers' Strike

Nurbek Qushaqbaev in handcuffs in a court in Astana on April 7.

ASTANA -- Kazakh labor union activist Nurbek Qushaqbaev has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison over a January oil workers' strike.

A court in Astana on April 7 found Qushaqbaev guilty of instigating an illegal strike by workers and sentenced him the same day.

The court also obliged Qushaqbaev to pay an equivalent of $80,000 to the Techno Trading Company as compensation for losses caused by the strike.

Qushaqbaev, a member of the union at the Oil Construction Company (OCC) in the western Manghystau region, was arrested in January after hundreds of OCC workers struck for two weeks to protest the closure of a trade-union alliance.

The strike was stopped after a local court declared it illegal.

Qushaqbaev pleaded not guilty.

His lawyers said they will appeal the verdict.

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