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OSCE Representative Denounces 'Harsh' Sentences Of Kazakh Journalists Union Head, Son

Seitqazy Mataev, the chairman of Kazakhstan's Journalists Union, has been sentenced to six years in jail. (file photo)

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic has expressed concern over the "harsh sentences" handed down to two prominent media personalities in Kazakhstan.

In an October 4 statement, Mijatovic said the sentences could "pose a threat to media freedom" in the country.

Seitqazy Mataev, head of the Kazakh Journalists Union, 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.

Mijatovic said the sentences could lead to the closure of the Kazakh Journalists Union and KazTAG, which she said "could be detrimental to media pluralism in Kazakhstan."