Four pro-democracy activists get a year probation

‚ÄčThe activists back the political party of famous dissident banker Mukhtar Ablyazov. They took part in protests against the new president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. Three of them were also given 100 hours of community services.

Nur-Sultan (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A Kazakh court yesterday sentenced four activists to one-year probation for supporting a pro-democracy opposition party, led by a major political dissident.

The four are Anuar Ashiraliev and three women, Oksana Shevchuk, Gulzipa Zhaukerova, and Zhazira Demeuova. Ashiraliev, Zhaukerova, and Demeuova were also given 100 hours of community service each.

The dissidents were arrested in July for attending rallies in May protesting an early presidential election that saw Kassym-Jomart Tokayev replace President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who had unexpectedly resigned after 29 years of absolute power.

The activists were also charged with rallying against the renaming of the capital, Astana, as Nur-Sultan in honour of the outgoing president.

Protests are rare in a country ruled with an iron fist, but thousands took part in rallies last July.

According to investigators, the four are members or supporters of the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan, a political party banned by Kazakh authorities in 2018, led by the best-known dissident in Nazarbayev’s regime, Mukhtar Ablyazov, a banker in self-exile since 2009.

In 2013 his wife Alma Shalabayeva and daughter Alua were involved in an intricate expulsion case in Italy, where they had been granted political asylum.