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Kazakhstan: After Kozlov’s Release, Authorities Should Allow Political Parties to Organize
In response to the government of Kazakhstan releasing opposition figure Vladimir Kozlov from prison before the end of his sentence, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“Vladimir Kozlov should never have been sentenced to prison for his political activities, but we welcome his release after his serving nearly four years' imprisonment,” said Daniel Calingaert, executive vice president. “The government of Kazakhstan should allow all citizens to exercise their right to organize freely, including to register independent political parties.”
In October 2012 Kozlov, leader of the Alga! opposition political party, was convicted of “inciting social hatred” against the authorities and sentenced to seven and a half years' imprisonment. In a trial riddled with procedural violations and contradictions, the government claimed Kozlov’s public remarks had led to violence in the western city of Zhanaozen in December 2011. Freedom House’s monitoring of the Kozlov trial can be found here.
Kazakhstan is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2015, and receives a democracy score of 6.61 on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2016.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.