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Zhanaozen Activists, Oil Workers Freed

ASTANA -- Six activists and oil workers whose jail terms were communted to suspended sentences in connection with antigovernment protests that sparked a deadly police response in 2011 have been released from prison.

The six people, including one female activist, initially were sentenced to prison terms of between four and seven years.

However, the Kazakh Supreme Court on May 28 reduced that ruling to two-year suspended sentences.

They were convicted of organizing antigovernment protests in the oil-producing western Kazakh town of Zhanaozen in December 2011.

At least 16 people were killed during a police crackdown as the demonstrations turned violent.

Several other opposition activists and oil workers -- as well as police who were arrested in connection with the Zhanaozen violence -- remain in prison.
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