Mon, 21 Jan 2019
1
Dushanbe

SHYMKENT, Kazakhstan -- A Kazakh court has sentenced civil rights activist Suin Abulda to five years in prison on charges he and his supporters called politically motivated.

The Al-Farabi District Court in the southern city of Shymkent on December 10 found Abulda guilty of intentionally providing investigators with false information in a fraud case.

Maintaining his innocence after the court's ruling was pronounced, Abulda told RFE/RL that his trial was politically motivated.

His mother, Begaiym Temirbekova, said the verdict and sentence will be appealed.

Abulda was arrested and charged in December 2017.

In May 2016, he was jailed for 15 days over his involvement in rallies against land reforms.

Thousands of people protested across Kazakhstan in April and May 2016 against changes to the Central Asian country's land code allowing land privatization.

Dozens of people were sentenced to several days in jail or fined.

Activists Maks Boqaev and Talgat Ayan, who were involved in protests in the western city of Atyrau, were sentenced to five years in prison each after being found guilty of inciting social discord, knowingly spreading false information, and violating the law on public assembly.

Ayan was released on parole in April, while Boqaev remains in prison.

RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

RFE/RL's Radio Azattyq has been an important source of information for people in Kazakhstan for decades. In 2009, Azattyq won the prestigious 2009 Online Journalism Award for 'standing in defense of citizen's rights to seek and receive information.'

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Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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