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Arrests Continue In Restive Kazakh Area

February 20, 2012

Activists who Kazakh authorities suspect of playing a role in the violence in the western city of Zhanaozen in December are still being rounded up by authorities, according to reports from the region.

The website fergana.ru reported that Natalya Azhigalieva, Ayman Ongarbaeva, Zhanara Saktaganova, and Estay Karashaev were all taken into custody on February 17 and accused of inciting social unrest and organizing a mass disturbance.

The website socializmkz.info reported more than 100 people are being kept in jails in the Mangistau Province for their suspected roles in the December 17 unrest -- which left 17 people dead in the Zhanaozen area after disgruntled strikers clashed with police -- or for helping organize demonstrations by striking or laid-off oil workers who started their protests back in May 2011.

Other detainees since the bloodshed have included members of civic groups tasked with looking into the circumstances around the deaths, and locals report sweeps searching for people who contributed video images or other clues outside official channels to the events of December 17.

Kazakh theater director and pro-reform activist Bolat Atabaev, who similarly faces charges of "inciting social hatred" in Kazakhstan, has been awarded the Goethe Medal from Germany’s Goethe Institute.

Several police officers have been charged for their alleged roles in the violence.

Compiled from regional reports

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/arrests_go_on_restive_kazakh_area/24490046.html

Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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