Supporters Of Slain Kazakh Oppositionist Open Probe
ALMATY, August 29, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Relatives and supporters of slain Kazakh opposition leader Altynbek Sarsenbaev today said they will proceed with their own probe into his assassination, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reported.
Sarsenbaev at the December 2005 funeral of another murdered opposition leader (RFE/RL)
Addressing a news briefing in Almaty, they said they want to find out who really commissioned the February murder of Sarsenbaev, the chairman of the Naghiz Ak Zhol party.
Zharmakhan Tuyakbai, a leader of the For A Just Kazakhstan opposition movement, said he believes the current trial of 10 defendants accused of involvement in Sarsenbaev's assassination is biased.
He also reiterated his conviction that Sarsenbaev's murder was commissioned by high-ranking state officials.
"One cannot say that [Kazakh] officials are interested in bringing other people to court as suspects, Tuyakbai said. "They fear such people should be looked for among top power holders. Their main objective is to leave the situation as it is and [prevent] any further investigation so that those stooges [who are on trial] are convicted as the main culprits. In other words, they're eager to put an end to this story in order to prevent further hearings and investigations."
State Prosecutor Vladimir Kirilenko on August 10 demanded that the two main defendants in the trial -- former Senate administration official Yerzhan Utembaev and former security officer Rustam Ibragimov -- be sentenced to death and that the other eight defendants be handed jail sentences of up to 20 years.
The court is expected to make its decision public on August 31.