Monday, August 06, 2012 -
A Kazakh court in the western city of Oral sentenced eight men on Monday for participating in a terrorist group.
Western Kazakhstan has been a hotbed of unrest in the past 18 months, as oil workers have protested for better wages while police engaged in a violent crackdown in December.
Those convicted of the charges will serve between six and nine years in jail, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported on Monday.
The group was convicted of “propagating terrorism with the goal to overthrow the country’s constitutional structure.”
Terrorism has been largely nonexistent in Kazakhstan until recently, when a series of small bombs and attacks have begun to occur in the vast country.
Kazakhstan’s first-ever suicide attack occurred in the western Kazakh city of Aktobe, and killed only the bomber. Three members of a local branch of Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee were injured in the blast.
The country’s lucrative oil and gas projects are all located in the west, and oil workers have grown restless in recent months as wealth disparities have become more pronounced.