AQTOBE, Kazakhstan -- A Kazakh man who was serving a prison term for criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin on Facebook has been released on parole.
Sanat Dosov's wife, Asel Zhumaghazina, told RFE/RL on December 11 that her husband was released overnight after spending more than 27 months in prison.
His lawyer, Darkhan Myrzabekov, said his client will have to visit a parole officer for less than nine months before he will be fully free.
A court in the northwestern city of Aqtobe found the 47-year-old Dosov guilty of inciting hatred in 2016 and sentenced him to three years in prison.
Dosov posted several opinions on Facebook between 2014 and 2016, criticizing Putin and the Kremlin for their policies toward Ukraine.
Trials against individuals charged with inciting ethnic hatred via the Internet have increased in recent years in Kazakhstan amid the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
Several Kazakh citizens supporting Ukraine as well as those supporting Russia have been imprisoned in Kazakhstan after Russia forcibly annexed Ukraine's Crimea region in March 2014.
Moscow's seizure of Crimea and its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine have raised concerns among Russia's neighbors that it may have designs on parts of their territory -- particularly those that, like Crimea, are home to many ethnic Russians.
RFE/RL's Kazakh Service
RFE/RL's Radio Azattyq has been an important source of information for people in Kazakhstan for decades. In 2009, Azattyq won the prestigious 2009 Online Journalism Award for 'standing in defense of citizen's rights to seek and receive information.'
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