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Sarsenbaev Murder Trial Adjourned in Kazakhstan


http://gdb.rferl.org/28EFBC97-2873-4BB0-98F9-512796534724_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/28EFBC97-2873-4BB0-98F9-512796534724_mw800_mh600.jpg Opposition supporters rally in memory of Altynbek Sarsenbaev in February (RFE/RL) June 14, 2006 -- The trial for the killing of Kazakh opposition leader Altynbek Sarsenbaev was adjourned due to absence of two defendants' lawyers in the courtroom.


Judge Lukmat Merekenov said the hearings would resume on June 15.


Ten defendants have been charged with involvement in the murder. Among them are a number of former security officers and a man who headed the Senate administration at the time of the killing.


Sarsenbaev was the leader of the Naghyz Ak Zhol (True Bright Path) party. His body and those of his driver and his bodyguard were found on the outskirts of Almaty in February.


Relatives believe the killing was politically motivated and that the defendants were merely acting on instructions.


(Kazakhstan Today, Interfax-Kazakhstan)

Kazakhstan's Fallen Opposition
Slain Kazakh journalist Askhat Sharipzhanov (undated RFE/RL file photo)

February 13, 2006: Altynbek Sarsenbaev -- a leader of the Kazakh opposition, co-chairman of the Naghyz Aq Zhol party, former minister of information, former Kazakh ambassador to Russia, former secretary of Kazakhstan's Security Council -- is found dead with his bodyguard and his driver, shot to death, execution style, with their hands bound behind their backs.

November 11, 2005: Zamanbek Nurkadilov-- prominent Kazakh politician, former mayor of Almaty, former Minister of Extraordinary Situations, and since a vocal critic of President Nursultan Nazarbaev since March 2004 -- is found shot to death, with two shots in his chest and one in his head. Kazakh authorities officially rule the case a suicide.

June 2, 2005: Batyrkhan Darimbet -- opposition journalist and editor in chief of the weekly AZAT -- is killed in what is officially reported as a traffic accident. Relatives and activists assert that it was a political killing.

December 19, 2004: Erzhan Tatishev -- head of Kazakhstan's largest bank, TuranAlemBank -- is killed in what was officially described as a hunting accident. Kazakh political observers allege that it was a premeditated assassination.

July 20, 2004: Askhat Sharipzhan-- independent journalist and political commentator for NAVI online -- dies of injuries sustained several days earlier in what was officially reported as a hit-and-run accident. Relatives and colleagues believe it was an assassination.

November17, 2002: Independent journalist Nuri Muftakh is killed in what is officially reported as a traffic accident. Colleagues and activists regard the death as suspicious.

January 4, 2002: Human rights activist Aleksei Pugaev is found dead, the victim of a hit-and-run car accident. Colleagues regard the circumstances as suspicious and no one is ever arrested in connection with the death.

(compiled by RFE/RL's Kazakh Service)


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