Kazakhstan heavily restricts freedom of assembly, speech, and religion, and torture remains a serious problem. In 2016, authorities jailed and aggressively harassed a dozen activists in multiple cities of Kazakhstan who rallied against land reforms. Police also rounded up journalists and human rights activists who attempted to monitor and report the rallies. Opposition leader Vladimir Kozlov was released on parole in August, but two activists faced politically motivated charges in connection with peaceful land reform protests. Recently adopted laws on NGOs, as well as a new law on trade unions, contain articles restricting fundamental freedoms and impose burdensome registration requirements which are incompatible with international standards. Torture remains common in places of detention and while some police officers faced charges, impunity remains the norm.