Kazakh court jails opposition politician

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Oct. 8, 2012, 4:09 p.m. |

A court in Kazakhstan has sentenced a vocal opposition leader to 7 ½ years in prison.

MOSCOW — A court in Kazakhstan has sentenced a vocal opposition leader to 7 ½ years in prison for allegedly seeking to overthrow the government, ending a trial that has undermined the Central Asian nation's claims to being an emerging democracy.

Local activists present at the court hearing Monday in the city of Atyrau say the judge ruled that unregistered Alga party leader Vladimir Kozlov incited unrest among oil workers in a remote western province with a view to toppling the government.

The charges relate to violence in mid-December in the town of Zhanaozen between striking workers and police. At least 14 people died when police opened fire on rioters.

Property belonging to Alga is also to be confiscated, effectively leading to the abolition of the authoritarian government's most robust critic.

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