Kazakh Businessman Jailed For Attempting To 'Overthrow Government'

ASTANA -- A Kazakh businessman has been sentenced to 21 years in prison after a court in Astana found him guilty of extremism, illegal weapons possession, and attempting to overthrow the government.

The Astana Military Court sentenced Tokhtar Toleshov, chief executive of one of Kazakhstan's largest breweries, on November 7.

Toleshov and his associates went on trial in September. His co-defenders received different prison terms, ranging from suspended imprisonment to seven years in penal colonies.

Toleshov was detained in January along with 24 other suspects, including the ex-deputy prosecutor-general and the former chief of the south Kazakhstan regional police.

In a separate case, Toleshov has been charged with financing mass protests against land reforms across the country, which the court had found illegal.

Two participants in the land protests are currently on trial in a separate case. They were charged with inciting social discord, intentionally distributing false information, and organizing illegal public gatherings.