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Five Kazakh Police Officers On Trial In Zhanaozen Case

AQTAU, Kazakhstan -- Five policemen in the western Kazakh region of Manghystau are being tried for allegedly abusing their authority during deadly riots in the town of Zhanaozen in mid-December 2011.

Three of the defendants are high-ranking regional police officials. They are charged with "using firearms against people that led to death."

Police shot dead at least 16 people during the government crackdown on an oil workers' strike in Zhanaozen that was followed by riots.

A former detention-center warden in Zhanaozen went on trial on April 25 for allegedly abusing his authority in connection with the death of a suspect arrested during the crackdown.

Trials are also under way against 49 civilians accused of inciting the unrest in Zhanaozen and nearby Shetpe.