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Kazakh Opposition Leader Murder Trial Adjourned


http://gdb.rferl.org/615C5897-B0F8-4219-9ED5-0C08A819088A_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/615C5897-B0F8-4219-9ED5-0C08A819088A_mw800_mh600.jpg Sarsenbaev supporters held a mourning rally in Almaty on February 15 (RFE/RL) August 14, 2006 - Kazakh court officials in the city of Taldy Qorgan today adjourned the trial of 10 defendants suspected of involvement in the murder of an opposition leader.


The recess until August 21 was ordered to give lawyers enough time to prepare their defense speeches.


Opposition leader Altynbek Sarsenbaev, his bodyguard, and his driver were found dead in February.


State Prosecutor Vladimir Kirilenko on August 10 urged that the main two defendants -- former Senate official Yerzhan Utembaev and former security officer Rustam Ibragimov -- be sentenced to death.


Prosecutors say Utembaev ordered the assassination of Sarsenbaev and his two aides and that Ibragimov carried out Utembaev's instructions. Both men deny the charges.


Opposition leaders believe high-ranking government officials commissioned the triple murder.


(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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