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Verdicts Pronounced In Kazakh Riot Case

Kazakhs at a courthouse in Aqtau await verdicts in a case concerning riots in the town of Shetpe late last year.
AQTAU, Kazakhstan -- A court in Aqtau, the capital of the Manghystau region in western Kazakhstan, has sentenced four local men from the small town of Shetpe to jail terms of four to seven years for their alleged roles in a deadly protest action on December 17.

A fifth man received a suspended sentence of two years in jail and six other defendants in the case were amnestied when the judgments were pronounced on May 21. One defendant was fully acquitted.

The action in Shetpe, where at least one protester was shot dead by police, was to protest a deadly crackdown a day earlier on December 16 in the nearby oil town of Zhanaozen, where security forces shot dead at least 16 protesters.

The trial of 37 civilians accused of inciting the unrest in Zhanaozen continues in Aqtau.

* This article has been amended to correct the number of jailed, amnestied, and acquitted defendants.
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