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Kazakhstan: Man Jailed Over Separatism Sensitivities

A man has been jailed on charges of promoting separatism in Kazakhstan — the first time someone has been thrown behind bars for a crime introduced last year, while separatist conflict raged in Ukraine.

The resident of the northern town of Ridder, a stone’s throw from Kazakhstan’s long border with Russia, received a five-year prison sentence for his activities on a social networking website, the Total.kz reports.

Igor Sychev, 26, was found guilty of propagating separatism over an online poll he published in spring quizzing the residents of Ridder on their views of whether their province, East Kazakhstan Region, should secede and join Russia.

The poll was published on the Heard in Ridder forum on Russian social networking site VKontakte, of which Sychev was administrator.

“I did not create the poll, and after there was a complaint the poll was removed,” Total.kz quoted Sychev as saying after the verdict was delivered on November 18.

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Kazakhstan: Man Jailed Over Separatism Sensitivities

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