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Kazakhstan takes steps to ban opposition movements

The Kazakh government has moved towards a ban on the two opposition movements and media outlets supportive of the opposition, reported Reuters on Wednesday.

The leader of the Alga! party, Vladimir Kozlov, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years last month for an attempt to lead protesting workers to topple the government.

A spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office said that both movements propagated extremism.

"Kozlov's sentence established that the activity of the unregistered Alga! and Halyk Maidany movements, as well as the activity of a number of mass media outlets, was extremist," said Nurdaulet Suindikov, adding that they are seeking the closure of eight newspapers and 23 websites.

Paris-based media group Reporters sans frontiers said that it was “appalled” by the moves.

"If granted, pluralism would quite simply cease to exist in this country. The government is using the pretext of combating extremism to launch an unprecedented offensive against its critics," the group said in a statement.

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