A well-known Kazakh civil rights activist, Erbol Eskhozhin, has been fined for publicly calling police officers “Nazarbaev’s puppies.”
Nursultan Nazarbaev is Kazakhstan’s former president who ruled the Central Asian nation for almost 30 years before he resigned in March 2019. He continues to control the country as the leader of the ruling Nur-Otan party and the lifetime chairman of the powerful Security Council.
A court in Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, on September 14 found Eskhozhin guilty of insulting police and fined him $530, his lawyer Olga Enns told RFE/RL.
Eskhozhin called the police “Nazarbaev’s puppies” when law enforcement officers were dispersing demonstrators in Nur-Sultan, the capital, during protests early this year.
Eskhozhin said he will not pay the fine, adding that the court’s decision will be appealed and that the case against him is politically motivated.
“I can’t pay the fine, even if they jail me…. The ruling indicates that the authorities are scared of the increasing number of civil rights activists in the country. People do not have as much fear now,” Eskhozhin said.
Since last year, the 43-year-old activist has been sentenced six times to several days in jail for taking part in unsanctioned rallies and, in all, has spent 85 days in jail.