[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
Jail terms in Kazakhstan riot trial
Rights groups say the trial not conducted fairly as 13 people receive jail terms for December's riots.
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2012 20:55

A court in Kazakhstan has jailed more than a dozen people for mounting mass riots in a western oil town last year at the
end of a trial in the Central Asian nation.

Thirteen people were sentenced on Monday to between three and seven years in jail for their involvement in the unrest, during which at least 14 people died.

A further 16 people on trial were granted conditional sentences, five were granted amnesty and three were acquitted.

Al Jazeera's Robin Forestier-Walker, reporting from Aktau in Kazakhstan, said that rights groups have taken issue with how evidence was collected for the case.

"Human Rights Watch has strongly criticised the way this trial was conducted because of the numerous allegations of torture by the defendants and by the witnesses," he said.

The government said it has "given a good account of itself, that its been even-handed in its justice ... but many believe here that [the trial] has had a very political element to it, that anyone, effectively, who has dared to challenge this government, as happened back in December, can expect very severe consequences."

The unrest in Zhanaozen in December came after a seven-month-long occupation of the main square by oil workers demanding higher salaries. A confrontation with police descended into rioting.

Five policemen were jailed last month after being found to have exceeded their authority in deploying live rounds against rioters.

228

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.