Kazakh Activist Jailed For Protesting Deadly Clashes

December 19, 2011
ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- A Kazakh opposition activist has been jailed for 15 days for protesting against violence that claimed at least 14 lives in the country's western oil-producing region, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.
Serik Saparghaliev, an activist from Kazakhstan's opposition People's Front movement was sentenced on December 19 for holding an unsanctioned public gathering in Almaty on December 17.
A group of activists organized the demonstration in Kazakhstan's largest city to protest security forces' firing at demonstrators in the western town of Zhanaozen the previous day.
Saparghaliev said he was in Zhanaozen when the deadly violence took place.
At least 14 men and women were killed in clashes between police and striking oil workers in Zhanaozen on December 16.
The unrest continued the next day as well, leading to clashes between protesters and police at the railway station in the town of Shetpe, in the same region as Zhanaozen, which left one person dead and about a dozen people wounded.
President Nursultan Nazarbaev announced a 20-day state of emergency and curfew in Zhanaozen on December 17.
The participants and organizers of the demonstration of support in Almaty on December 17 were detained by police and later released. Saparghaliev is the only one sentenced thus far.