Kazakh Police Detain Hunger Strikers Demanding Release Of Political Prisoners.

SHYMKENT, Kazakhstan -- Police in the southern Kazakh city of Shymkent have detained more than a dozen activists, including three who have been on a hunger strike for weeks to push for the release of political prisoners.

Some 50 men in civilian clothes surrounded three hunger strikers and more than a dozen of their supporters on July 1 in front of the Shymkent city administration's headquarters and forcibly took them to a police station.

The chief of the city police department's anti-extremism desk, Ernar Altaev, who was at the site, refused to explain to RFE/RL why the group, which was also protesting court decisions to ban two political movements, was detained.

Two masked men at the site opened umbrellas with which they tried to block the cameras of RFE/RL reporters from recording the detentions, a method previously used by unknown individuals apparently associated with local authorities in the tightly controlled former Soviet republic.

Dozens of activists have been on hunger strike since June 19 in several cities in the Central Asian nation, including Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Oral, Oskemen, and Shymkent. They have been demanding the cancellation of court decisions to label as extremist and ban the unregistered opposition Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK) movement and the associated Koshe (Street) party.

Several activists in Kazakhstan have been handed prison sentences or parole-like sentences in recent years for their support or involvement in the activities of the DVK and Koshe, as well as for taking part in unsanctioned rallies organized by the two groups.

DVK is led by Mukhtar Ablyazov, the fugitive former head of Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank and an outspoken critic of the Kazakh government.

Human rights groups have said Kazakhstan’s law on public gatherings contradicts international standards as it requires preliminary permission from the authorities to hold rallies and envisions prosecution for organizing and participating in unsanctioned rallies, even though the nation’s constitution guarantees its citizens the right of free assembly.

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

Related news
Jailed Kazakh Opposition Activist Released From Prison.

Jailed Kazakh Opposition Activist Released From Prison.

Kazakh opposition activist Aset Abishev, who was jailed for supporting the activities of the banned Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan movement, has been released from a penal colony after serving more than 2 1/2 years in prison.

Radio Free Europe

Chief Editor Of Investigative News Group Flees Russia.

Chief Editor Of Investigative News Group Flees Russia.

The chief editor of The Project investigative news outlet has left Russia with no plans to return and is trying to evacuate his staff after the group was declared an "undesirable" organization by the Prosecutor-General's Office in Moscow.

Radio Free Europe

Tucker reacts to latest cause for concern in liberal cities.

Tucker reacts to latest cause for concern in liberal cities.

'Tucker Carlson Tonight' host examines homelessness and rising crime plaguing US cities #FoxNews #Tucker Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news servi...

Family call for more safety equipment near lakes and open water.

Family call for more safety equipment near lakes and open water.

Becky Cotterill speaks to a family who lost their teenage son after he drowned in a lake. They are campaigning for more life-saving equipment to be placed near open water. SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel for more videos: Follow us on Twitter: Lik...

Why internet connections in Germany are so bad - DW Analysis.

Why internet connections in Germany are so bad - DW Analysis.

For years, Europe’s largest economy has failed to roll out good internet connections across the country, and that’s increasingly becoming a problem. By telling the story of one small village in central Germany and how it’s been fighting for better...

What To Do If You Get An Eviction Notice

What To Do If You Get An Eviction Notice

3.6 million Americans say they will likely have to leave their homes in the next two months due to eviction. NBC News’ Maura Barrett shares tips on what to do if you’re facing an eviction notice. » Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NB...

NHS workers march on Downing St to protest 3 per cent pay rise.

NHS workers march on Downing St to protest 3 per cent pay rise.

NHS workers and their supporters march from St Thomas' Hospital to Downing Street in protest at the 3 per cent pay rise the Government has given them. Among them were nurses Janet Maiden, David Carr, Shelley Pearce and retired nurse Dave Bell. The...

Human Trafficking Survivors Share Their Stories

Human Trafficking Survivors Share Their Stories

Two survivors of human trafficking share their stories and advocates tell NBC News’ Simone Boyce what the U.S. can do to help other women.» Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News Digital is a collection of innovative and powerful ...