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Prosecutor Seeks 'Freedom Limitation' For Kazakh Activist Over Internet Posts

AQTAU, Kazakhstan -- A prosecutor has asked a court in Kazakhstan's western city of Aqtau to sentence Kazakh activist Aigul Aqberdieva to five years of "freedom limitation" -- a suspended sentence with parolelike restrictions.

Aqberidieva, 39, is accused of using the social-media accounts of the banned Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK) movement to call for the “forceful overthrow of the government."

Her high-profile trial in September, four days after her 45-year-old husband, Ablovas Zhumaev, was found guilty of the same charge and sentenced to three years in prison.

Both Aqberidieva and her husband pleaded not guilty to the charges against them and called their cases politically motivated.

The couple has four children, the youngest of whom is 2 years old.

Kazakhstan banned the DVK in March last year after deeming it an extremist organization.

The political movement was founded by fugitive former banker Mukhtar Ablyazov, a vocal critic of President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

In November, a Kazakh court sentenced Ablyazov in absentia to life in prison for murder, a charge he denied and labeled politically motivated.

Opponents and rights groups say that Nazarbaev, who has held power in the Central Asian nation since before the 1991 Soviet breakup, has taken systematic steps to suppress dissent and sideline potential opponents.

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