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Kazakh Supreme Court Weighs Sarsenbaev Appeal

Supporters mourn Altynbek Sarsenbaev in Almaty in February (RFE/RL) December 7, 2006 -- The criminal chamber of Kazakhstan's Supreme Court has started deliberating on an appeal filed by 10 former security officers and state officials convicted of the murder of opposition leader Altynbek Sarsenbaev.

The Kazakhstan Today news agency quoted presiding Judge Abdrashid Zhukenov as saying the panel would make its decision public on December 8.

On August 30, a regional court in Taldy-Qorgan found former security officer Rustam Ibragimov guilty of killing Sarsenbaev and two of his aides and sentenced him to death.

It also sentenced Ibragimov's nine co-defendants to prison terms of between three and 20 years.

Ibragimov on December 6 claimed he resisted attempts made by Interior Minister Baurzhan Mukhamedzhanov and Prosecutor-General Rashid Tusupbekov to have him accuse President Nursultan Nazarbaev's daughter Darigha and her husband, First Deputy Foreign Minister Rakhat Aliev, of commissioning the murder.

Ibragimov's lawyer also accused the prosecution of falsifying the results of the lie-detector tests that the U.S. FBI helped conduct on two of the defendants.

(Kazakhstan Today, Interfax-Kazakhstan)

Kazakhstan's Fallen Opposition

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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