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Kazakh court upholds opposition leader's jailing

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November 19, 2012 05:47 AM EST | AP


ALMATY, Kazakhstan — A court in Kazakhstan has upheld the conviction of an opposition leader accused of fomenting unrest and mounting an attempt to overthrow the Central Asian nation's government.

The ruling Monday by the court in the western city of Aktau means Alga party leader Vladimir Kozlov faces 7 1/2 years in jail.

Kozlov was sentenced last month for his alleged involvement in inciting December rioting in the oil town of Zhanaozen. The United States called the trial an "apparent use of the criminal system to silence opposition voices."

Authorities in the oil-rich former Soviet nation routinely smother democratic liberties, and robust opposition to the government is not tolerated.

State television aired a documentary Thursday claiming Kozlov orchestrated the unrest in Zhanaozen, which stemmed from a labor dispute, to make money.