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AFP
October 11, 2019

Kazakhstan jails China expert for 10 years for treason

World

AFP
October 11, 2019

NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan: A court in Kazakhstan has sentenced a China expert to 10 years in prison for treason, the national security committee said on Thursday.

Konstantin Syroezhkin, 63, was an employee of the state-run Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies when his detention was reported earlier this year. Although the national security committee, the KNB, did not say whom Syroezhkin was accused of spying for, rights activists citing law enforcement sources said his work with China was the focus of the case.

Galym Ageleuov, a well-known rights defender and acquaintance of Syroezhkin´s, said the academic had pleaded not guilty in court but would not be appealing the sentence. "Our authorities accused him of spying on behalf of China. He refutes this accusation," Ageleuov told AFP.

He said the academic understood that "the KNB can easily pressure the court." "He understood that his punishment was a command from the top," Ageleuov added. In May, dozens of academics signed an open letter to Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev asking him to ensure transparency in the case.