Update, January 23, 2017
A court in Atyrau, western Kazakhstan has upheld a five-year jail sentence for two activists serving time for their role in organizing protest rallies in opposition to a proposed land privatization scheme.
The court on January 20, 2017 ruled to leave Maks Bokaev and Talgat Ayan in prison at the end of a week of hearings that, according to media reports, were marred by procedural irregularities.
Human Rights Watch believes the original sentences were a miscarriage of justice and both men should be released immediately.
(Berlin) – The convictions and five-year sentences on November 28, 2016, for two Kazakhstan activists for exercising their right to peaceful protest is a miscarriage of justice, Human Rights Watch said today.
A court in Atyrau, western Kazakhstan, found Maks Bokaev and Talgat Ayan guilty of inciting social discord, spreading knowingly false information, and violating the law regulating public assemblies. In addition to the prison terms, the court banned each from engaging in civic activities for three years after their release and fined them approximately US$1,500.
“Jailing Bokaev and Ayan for nothing more than peacefully expressing dissenting views is an outrageous miscarriage of justice,” said Mihra Rittmann, Europe and Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Maks Bokaev and Talgat Ayan should be freed immediately.”