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U.S. Embassy Concerned Over Imprisonment Of Kazakh Union Head, Son

Seitqazy Mataev was sentenced to six years in prison on October 3.

The U.S. Embassy in Astana has expressed concerns over the conviction and imprisonment of the head of the Kazakh Journalists Union and his son.

Seitqazy Mataev and his son, Aset, the director of the KazTAG news agency, were sentenced on October 3 to six and five years in prison, respectively.

Both have denied the charges of misappropriation of funds and tax evasion.

The U.S. Embassy's statement on October 6 said the Mataevs' criminal convictions indicated "constraints on independent media and the implications for freedom of expression in Kazakhstan."

"We share international concern over the decreasing space for independent media in Kazakhstan. In the spirit of the U.S. partnership with Kazakhstan, we call on the government of Kazakhstan to uphold freedom of expression and due process for all citizens as fundamental democratic rights," the statement said.