A court in Kazakhstan has ordered the release on parole of a prominent journalist who was sentenced last October to serve six years in prison on fraud charges.
Lawyers filing the parole appeal for Seitkazy Matayev, 63, said their client had exhibited exemplary behavior while in prison and that he was suffering from circulation trouble, Tengri News reported on November 16.
Many were shocked by the trial against Matayev, a largely establishment figure who headed Kazakh Journalists’ Union. In the early 1990s, he worked as President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s first post-independence press secretary.
Matayev and his son, Aset, who was sentenced to five years in prison, were arrested in February 2016 on suspicion of tax evasion and misappropriating money granted to their KazTAG news agency as part of a much-criticized state media subsidy program. Prosecutors put the amount of funds supposedly defrauded funds at around $1 million.
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