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Ex-Mayor Of Restive Kazakh Town Goes On Trial Again

  • RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

The ex-mayor of Zhanaozen Orak Sarbopeev

The ex-mayor of Zhanaozen Orak Sarbopeev

AQTOBE, Kazakhstan -- The former mayor of the restive town of Zhanaozen, in Kazakhstan's west, has gone on trial for the second time.

Oraq Sarbopeev was detained again last month after a regional court of appeal overruled a previous court decision to acquit him. His trial began on September 19.

Sarbopeev was charged with abuse of office and bribe-taking earlier this year when investigations into violent clashes between striking oil workers and police were launched.

Police shot 16 people during the clashes in Zhanaozen in mid-December.

Authorities have sought to prosecute a number of local officials seen as illegally draining oil companies of funds meant for employees.

Last week, Sarbopeev's predecessor Zhalghas Babakhanov was sentenced to two years in jail for embezzling funds from an oil company during his time as Zhanaozen mayor between 1999 and 2009.