NUR-SULTAN -- A leading Kazakh sinologist has been sentenced to 10 years in prison on high-treason charges and stripped of his citizenship.
The Almaty City Court said on October 15 that Konstantin Syroyezhkin was sentenced on October 7 and will serve his prison term in a maximum-security prison in Kazakhstan.
He is likely to be sent to Russia after his release, as he was also barred from being in Kazakhstan for five years after his sentence is served.
Details of the charges were not made public, but some local media outlets have speculated that Syroyezhkin was accused of passing classified information on to Chinese nationals.
A Kazakh law adopted in 2017 allows the authorities to strip the citizenship of a person for terrorism-related crimes and "damaging vitally important interests of Kazakhstan."
The 63-year-old expert, who was arrested in February, was born in the southeastern Kazakh city of Almaty and is a graduate of the Highest School of the Soviet KGB.
He has worked as an expert and analyst at the presidential Institute for Strategic Research since 2006.
He is the author of more than 1,000 analytical and research works on China and Kazakh-Chinese relations, written in Russian, Chinese, and English.