World Bulletin / News Desk
An outspoken critic of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev was jailed for seven-and-a-half years on Monday for his part in a failed attempt to overthrow the government of the oil-producing Central Asian state.
Vladimir Kozlov, leader of the unofficial Alga! party, was found guilty of orchestrating dissent among striking oil workers in the prelude to riots last December that left 15 people dead and dented Kazakhstan's reputation for stability.
Kozlov, 52, denied the charges. Speaking at the end of the seven-week trial on Oct. 1, he described his case as an "undisguised attempt" to stifle civic protest and labour rights.
Prosecutors had earlier said Kozlov, whose property was also confiscated by the court, had acted under orders from Mukhtar Ablyazov, an arch-opponent of Nazarbayev and the former head of BTA bank who fled Kazakhstan in 2009.
Britain granted Ablyazov political asylum as he awaited embezzlement charges brought by the bank, which he has said were politically motivated. But his whereabouts are unknown since he fled after being convicted in February in Britain of contempt of court.
Two independent opposition activists standing trial alongside Kozlov, Serik Sapargaly and Akzhanat Aminov, were given suspended sentences of four and three years respectively.
On Dec. 16, police opened fire on protesters, including hundreds of sacked oil workers, when riots broke out during a street party in the town of Zhanaozen to mark 20 years of Kazakhstan's independence from the Soviet Union.
At least 14 people were killed. Rioting spread the next day to the nearby village of Shetpe, where another person died.
Serbia's ambassador to Ankara says 5 government ministers will accompany Serbian president
He acted quickly -- just a day after decades of Castro rule ended and long time party loyalist Miguel Diaz-Canel assumed power as president.
Multimillion-dollar lawsuit raises issue of hacking of Democratic National Committee’s servers
Syrian regime would be 'ill-advised' to ignore message sent by last week’s allied missile strike, says US Defense Secretary
At least 39 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli interventions since border rallies began March 30
Thursday’s vote make Diaz-Canel first person outside Castro family to rule country in almost 60 years
Syrian regime had no clear picture of what was happening to them, says U.S. general, referring to U.S.-led joint attack
Hamas, Islamic Jihad announced plans earlier to boycott scheduled meeting of PLO’s National Council
Canadian provinces at war over future delivery of oil to Pacific countries
Terrorists killed during operations in Saladin governorate
Decision follows Ecuador’s withdrawal as mediator in talks between Bogota and rebel group
The economic damage of trade war will be smaller than its perceived risk, experts say
Top court says in 5-4 decision federal statute is 'unconstitutionally vague'
'Both chlorine and sarin gas were used in the attack,' says State Department spokesperson
Move ‘is just one step in a journey that requires dedication,’ says coffee chain’s CEO
Turkish Air Force targets Zap region in northern Iraq, according to military