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Kazakh Judge Who Released Russian Businessman On Trial Herself

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- A Kazakh judge who freed a Russian businessman who had been convicted of ordering a murder is on trial herself.

Kuplash Otemisova, 56, was arrested in September and charged with issuing a "wrong ruling" after she decided in August that a 12-year sentence imposed against Aleksandr Sutyaginsky in March 2013 should be replaced by a suspended sentence of six years since the killing never took place.

Sutyaginsky, a businessman from the Siberian city of Omsk, was an active presence in Kazakhstan and often seen at ceremonies with top Kazakh and Russian officials.

Sutyaginsky fled to Russia after his release.

Otemisova, whose trial started March 26, faces up to seven years in jail if found guilty.

Otemisova's lawyer, Vladimir Popov, told RFE/RL that the charges against Otemisova violate her rights as a judge.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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