ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Two Kazakh bloggers known for their criticism of Moscow, including Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, have been handed lengthy prison terms because of their online posts.
The Almaly district court in the Central Asian nation's largest city, Almaty, sentenced Marghulan Boranbai and Danat Namazbaev to five years in prison each after finding them guilty on March 14 of inciting hatred between Kazakhs and Russians. Boranbai, who is also known for his articles criticizing corruption among top officials in Kazakhstan, was also found guilty of calling for the illegal seizure of power in his country. The defendants pleaded not guilty and their lawyers told RFE/RL that the court's ruling will be appealed. The bloggers have criticized Russia's policies, including Moscow's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea and Moscow’s support of pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine's east, as well as Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The have also been critical of Russia's policies towards it neighbors, including Kazakhstan and Ukraine, calling on Kazakh authorities to avoid any moves to integrate with Russia.
The probe against Boranbai and Namazbaev was launched in 2019 over their posts on Facebook.