Freedom House calls for the immediate release of the jailed activists and urges the government of Kazakhstan to allow citizens to freely express their political opinions without fear of retribution.
"The recent arrests and harsh punishments, for nothing more than unfurling a banner that calls for a fair election, challenge any expectation that a credible presidential election will take place in Kazakhstan" - said Marc Behrendt, director of Europe and Eurasia programs at Freedom House.
Recall, it should be noted that during the Almaty Marathon on April 21, Asya Tulesova and Beibarys Tolymbekov hung a banner on a fence along the race’s route stating, “You cannot run from the truth” in Russian, followed by the hashtags “for free elections” in Kazakh and “I have a choice” in Russian. The two activists were found guilty of holding an unauthorized demonstration later that day by local officials and sentenced to 15 days in jail. Furthermore, three other activists who filmed the protest were each fined around $130 for participating in an unauthorized demonstration.
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