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Kazakhs Sentenced for Deadly Riots in Oil Town, Novosti Reports

A Kazakh court issued sentences that ranged from three to seven years in prison for people accused of taking part in the worst unrest since the former Soviet republic won independence two decades ago, Novosti-Kazakhstan reported.

The judge in the western city of Aktau was prevented from reading out the verdicts as scuffles broke out between relatives of the accused and police, the Kazakh news service said. A total of 12 people received prison sentences, with an additional 16 given conditional sentences, five amnestied and three acquitted, the Associated Press said.

The court earlier sentenced five police officers to prison terms ranging from five to seven years for abuse of power during the violence, in which at least 14 people were killed, Novosti Kazakhstan reported May 28.

Kazakh police used arms to suppress unrest in Zhanaozen where a strike by oil workers led to a mass riot during Independence Day celebrations on Dec. 16.

-- Editors: Paul Abelsky, Zoe Schneeweiss

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