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Ex-Kazakh Health Minister Imprisoned For Corruption

A relative bids goodbye to Zhaksylyk Doskaliev (facing camera), the former Kazakh health minister who was sentenced to seven years in prison on a corruption charge.
ASTANA -- Former Kazakh Health Minister Zhaqsylyq Dosqaliev has been sentenced to seven years in jail for corruption, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Dosqaliev, 55, was found guilty by an Astana court of obtaining nine apartments as a bribe from a construction company while he was the rector of the Astana Medical Institute from 2004-08. He will stand trial later on two other bribe-related charges.

Judge Meiram Zhanguttinov also ruled on August 5 that Dosqaliev must pay 27 million tenges ($180,000), $449,000, and 2,000 euros ($2,848) to the state "to compensate for the damage resulting from his illegal actions."

In addition, three apartments in Astana and a plot of land near Astana owned by Dosqaliev will be confiscated.

Dosqaliev went on trial in Astana on May 19 on charges of abuse of office, embezzlement, bribe-taking, and the illegal sale of real estate. The court later dropped the last charge.

Financial police say they suspect Dosqaliev simulated a stroke after they interrogated him in September. Dosqaliev was hospitalized and later transferred to a pretrial detention center in Astana.

President Nursultan Nazarbaev dismissed him as health minister on October 8.

Several doctors who diagnosed Dosqaliev as having suffered a stroke were charged later that month with "using their professional position to obstruct the course of justice."

Aygul Zhetimkarynova, one of the doctors suspected of helping Dosqaliev secure a false stroke diagnosis in order to evade justice, died unexpectedly after being hospitalized in October in the wake of the scandal.

The cause of death was officially given as a "massive tumor."

On May 27, Dosqaliev was released from the detention center under house arrest.

Dosqaliev was handcuffed in the courtroom and taken away by guards immediately after the verdict was read, RFE/RL reports.

Read more in Kazakh here or in Russian here