Prominent Kazakh human rights activist Vadim Kuramshin has been granted early release on parole after serving more than 6 1/2 years in prison on extortion charges that his supporters said were politically motivated.
A lawyer for Kuramshin, Muratbek Irge, told RFE/RL that a court in the northeastern city of Oskemen agreed on August 1 to parole Kuramshin.
He will be released in 15 days if the ruling is not appealed and overturned, Irge said.
Kuramshin has become known for his efforts to raise awareness of violations of inmates’ rights in Kazakh penitentiaries, including the one where he served his term.
He was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2012 on an extortion conviction. He denies wrongdoing.
In December 2013, while behind bars, Kuramshin was awarded the prestigious Ludovic-Trarieux international human rights prize.
The first Ludovic-Trarieux prize was awarded to South Africa’s Nelson Mandela in 1985, during his imprisonment.
Source: Radio Free Europe