AKIPRESS.COM - Kazakh authorities have conscripted two opposition-minded activists days after they held peaceful, but highly visible, protests, Eurasianet reports.
They say they’re being singled out and punished for expressing their opinions, and that their medical exemptions are being ignored.
Beibarys Tolymbekov entered the spotlight on April 21 when he and his girlfriend, Asya Tulesova, unfurled a banner bearing the words: “You cannot run from the truth” during a marathon in Almaty. Photos of the banner – which included the hashtags #forafairelection and #Ihaveachoice – instantly attracted online attention and helped stoke demonstrations in the subsequent weeks. Tolymbekov and Tulesova were detained by the police during the marathon and sentenced to two weeks in jail for violating public assembly laws.
24-year-old Aslan Sagutdinov from the city of Uralsk in northern Kazakhstan was also called into the local enlistment office. He believes the call-up is punishment for his activism.
On May 6, Sagutdinov was detained by police when he stood on the main square in Uralsk holding a blank sheet of paper. He said he wanted to prove there is no freedom of speech and democracy in Kazakhstan. To many, he succeeded.