A Kazakh man who posted comments critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin on social media was sentenced to three years in jail Tuesday by a court in Kazakhstan.
Sanat Dosov, 46, was charged for allegedly insulting Putin on a number of occasions, namely publishing an image of former Soviet rulers Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin alongside the current Russian leader, reports International Business Times.
Dosov has reportedly called Putin a terrorist and an enemy before while posting news stories from a Ukrainian site.
Various Kazakh media sources call Dosov a “social activist” and an “entrepreneur,” according to The Diplomat.
Article 174 of the Kazakh criminal code says it it illegal to incite “social, national, generic, racial, class or religious hatred” and to “insult of the national honour and dignity or religious feelings of citizens,” reports The Diplomat.
The language of the law is rather broad, which allows authorities leeway in application and enforcement.
Dosov admitted to posting the content on social media and pleaded guilty because he has six children who need him. His lawyer, though, will reportedly appeal the verdict and argue that Dosov did not commit a crime at all.
In a separate situation, the chief editor of Kazakhstan’s leading news website announced that he was leaving the country out of fears of state punishment. These two incidents exemplify an overarching trend that journalists in Kazakhstan fear prosecution for their work.
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