ASTANA -- Kazakhstan's population of convicted extremists and terrorists has grown in recent years, the London-based NGO Penal Reform International (PRI) said at an Astana news conference Monday (May 29), according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)'s Kazakh service.
In 2014, the country's courts convicted 154 defendants of extremism or terrorism, according to PRI. By 2016, that number had grown to 554.
"The overwhelming majority of extremists are unemployed," said Marat Kogamov, chairman of the Kazakhstani citizens' oversight council for police operations. "This shows that the state's social policy needs to be [further] developed."