Wed, 14 Apr 2021

TALGHAR, Kazakhstan -- A court in southern Kazakhstan has handed a parole-like sentence to an activist for his links with the banned Koshe (Street) Party, one of several supporters of the opposition movement to be sentenced in recent months.

The Talghar district court in the southern Almaty region sentenced 36-year-old Erkin Sabanshiev on April 7 to one year of 'freedom limitation' after finding him guilty of participating in the activities of the opposition Koshe Party, which has links with another outlawed party, the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK) movement.

Sabanshiev was banned from using the media or the Internet to conduct political and social activities for three years.

Sabanshiev, who was arrested and charged six months ago, told RFE/RL after his sentence was pronounced that he will appeal the ruling.

Several of Sabanshiev's supporters were not allowed to attend the hearing on April 7. One of them, Aidyn Nusipaliev, was detained by police and later in the day sentenced to 15 days in jail for 'organizing an unsanctioned rally.'

Several activists across the Central Asian nation have been handed 'freedom limitation' sentences in recent months for their involvement in the activities of the Koshe Party and DVK, as well as for taking part in rallies organized by the two groups.

DVK is led by Mukhtar Ablyazov, the fugitive former head of Kazakhstan's BTA Bank and an outspoken critic of the Kazakh government. Kazakh authorities labeled DVK extremist and banned the group in March 2018.

Human rights groups have said Kazakhstan's law on public gatherings contradicts international standards as it requires preliminary permission from authorities to hold rallies and envisions prosecution for organizing and participating in unsanctioned rallies even though the nation's constitution guarantees its citizens the right of free assembly.

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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