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Kazakh Journalist Union Ex-Chief’s Prison Sentence Shortened

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ASTANA — A six-year prison term handed down to former Kazakh Journalists’ Union chief Seitqazy Mataev has been shortened by two years and eight months.

Mataev’s lawyer, Madina Bakieva, said on April 18 that her client’s jail term was cut under an amnesty that was announced in December to mark the 25th anniversary of Kazakhstan’s independence.

Mataev, 62, was found guilty of tax evasion and embezzlement in October and sentenced to six years in prison.

His son, Aset Mataev, who was director of the private KazTAG news agency before his conviction, was found guilty of embezzlement and sentenced to five years in prison.

Both have denied the charges, and rights groups say Seitqazy Mataev was prosecuted on trumped-up charges in response to his work as head of the journalists’ union.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.

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