ASTANA -- The appeals board of the Kazakh Supreme Court has ordered the release of six people convicted for their roles in the 2011 mass disturbances in Kazakhstan’s southwestern town of Zhanaozen.*
The court commuted three-year jail terms to two-year suspended sentences in the case on May 28.
At least 16 people were shot dead during a police crackdown on an oil workers' protest in Zhanaozen in December 2011.
In June 2012, more than a dozen people were sentenced to jail terms of between three and seven years for inciting the Zhanaozen disturbances.
Five Zhanaozen police officials and the former warden of a detention center were sentenced to jail terms of between five and seven years for abuse of authority during the riots.
In October, opposition leader Vladimir Kozlov was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison for inciting the disturbances.
*CORRECTION: This story initially suggested that the six defendants had been released, when in fact the court merely rendered its verdict on May 28. They were released on June 1.