Kazakh rights activist Serikzhan Bilash speaks to reporters outside a courthouse in Almaty, Kazakhstan. File photo/ Reuters
A Kazakh rights activist who campaigned against the detention of ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims in special camps in China has pleaded guilty to a hate speech charge in exchange for securing his freedom, his lawyer said on Saturday.
Serkzhan Bilash, a naturalized Kazakh citizen born in the Chinese region of Xinjiang, led Atajurt, a group that has worked for the release of ethnic Kazakhs from camps where activists say more than a million ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims are held.
He was arrested in March and charged with hate speech for allegedly publicly calling for a “holy war” against the Chinese.
In a hearing late on Friday, the prosecution announced it had reached a plea bargain with Bilash, his lawyer Aiman Umarova said. Under the deal, Bilash was fined 110,000 tenge (about $280) and set free, although he will not be allowed to leave the city of Almaty for several months.
Umarova said she had opposed the deal and refused to sign it, but Bilash told her it was made clear to him he would be sentenced to seven years in prison otherwise.
“He said he was doing it for the sake of his two children and because of his health,” she said by telephone.
“We (Kazakhstan) have bent over backwards for China.”
Kazakhstan borders Xinjiang and China is one of its biggest trade partners.
Many Western and Muslim countries have strongly criticised the detention centres set up by Chinese authorities in remote Xinjiang, home to the mainly Muslim Uighur minority. Beijing describes them as “education training centres” that help to stamp out extremism and give people new skills.
"We've consistently said that it will be taking place by the end of May. We are approaching the end of May. So it will be happening shortly," spokeswoman Liz Throssell told reporters.
Horton, who took silver behind Sun at the weekend, refused to step onto the top step of the podium for photos after the medal ceremony in Gwangju, as doping allegations swirl around Sun.
American Caeleb Dressel swam the second-fastest 100m freestyle in history to retain his world title on Thursday as China lashed out at the anti-doping protests targeting Olympic star Sun Yang.
The region's governor Alexander Brechalov confirmed there were "casualties and wounded among children", speaking in a video statement outside school No88 in Izhevsk.
The FSB said it had arrested the Japanese consul in the act of obtaining classified information about the impact of Western sanctions on the economic situation in Russia's Far East.
The visa is issued to all nationalities for a period of 5 years, without a guarantor, and allows the beneficiary to stay in the country for a continuous period not exceeding 90 days, and it may be extended for a longer period, provided that it does not exceed 180 days per year.
Palestinian media reported that hundreds of settlers stormed Al Aqsa Square from the Mughrabi Gate, with strict protection from the Israeli forces, in the form of groups, each of which includes 50 settlers, and performed Talmudic rituals and carried out provocative tours in the mosque’s courtyards.