Kazakhstan: Trade Union Leader Punished With 4 Years of "Limited Freedom"
A court in Kazakhstan has once more signaled the government’s disregard for worker rights by sentencing the former head of an independent trade union to four years of "limited freedom" for purportedly abusing her status.
The sentence means Larisa Kharkova will have her movements strictly restricted for the period in question and will be required to apply to the authorities for permission if she intends to leave her home city.
Judge Svetlana Shinaliyeva, who presided over the trial in Shymkent, ruled on July 25 that Kharkova will have property confiscated and be denied the right to head any public organizations for a five-year period. Kharkova, who until recently led the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions, known by its Russian acronym as KNPRK, will also serve 100 hours of community service.
The charges against Kharkova went through a convoluted iteration, beginning with accusations that she had embezzled $45,000 from her union and ending with suggestions the union leader refused to return furniture claimed by the leader of a teacher’s union in south Kazakhstan.
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