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U.S. Rights Body Demands Release Of Kazakh Lawyer

Jailed Kazakh lawyer Natalya Sokolova
Freedom House, a U.S.-based human rights body, has called for the immediate release of a Kazakh lawyer jailed after advising striking oil workers about their rights.

A court in western Kazakhstan sentenced Natalya Sokolova on August 8 to six years in jail for "inciting social unrest" and "organizing illegal gatherings" at Karazhanbasmunai (KBM), a Sino-Kazakh oil venture hit by a strike that began in May.

Freedom House said in a statement released on August 10 that the charges against Sokolova were "spurious" and voiced concerns that Kazakhstan "is using the judiciary as a means to silence oppositional voices."

compiled from agency reports