Kazakhstani court frees former chief of Journalists' Union


ZARECHNY, Kazakhstan -- The former head of Kazakhstan's Journalists' Union was released Monday (December 4) from a penal colony in Zarechny, after serving less than 20 months of a six-year sentence, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported Monday.

Seitqazy Matayev, 63, and his son Aset in October 2016 were found guilty of evading taxes and embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from Kazakhstan's Communications Ministry. Matayev was sentenced to six years, while his son received five years.

The elder Matayev was prosecuted because he headed the union, say rights groups.

On November 16, the Qapshaghai City Court in Almaty Province granted Seitqazy Matayev early release. The order took effect Monday.

The elder Matayev told reporters he was hoping for his son's release soon.

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