Police in Kazakhstan detain dozens after activist's death

Police in Kazakhstan detain dozens after activist's death

Police in Kazakhstan detained dozens of people in the Central Asian country's largest city after an activist's death in jail triggered protests.

Around 40 people were detained by police close to the city hall, where two opposition groups had called for anti-government rallies, AFP journalists said.

The protests were called after Dulat Agadil, a prominent activist, died in detention hours after he was detained by plainclothes police.

Both the United States and the United Kingdom raised concern over the activist's death and called for a "thorough" investigation.

Activists have cited video footage of Agadil's corpse with bruises as evidence that he was beaten in detention, rather than dying of heart failure, as police said.

The state prosecutor's office called on citizens not to make "hasty conclusions" about the bruises, which the official said was common on corpses.

Kazakhstan regularly cracks down on citizens who attempt to hold rallies, citing laws that make public assemblies subject to permits from the authorities.

The country is in the process of changing its legislation on public assemblies, and a draft of the new law has been released for public discussion.

But civil society groups in the Central Asian state have expressed dissatisfaction with a new draft law, which they argue would introduce additional restrictions.