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New Probe Sought As Expert Claims Kazakh President's Former Son-In-Law Was Murdered

Rakhat Aliev was found dead in an Austrian jail last year.

A German expert says he believes that Rakhat Aliev, a former son-in-law of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev who was found dead in an Austrian jail last year, was murdered.

German physician Bernd Brinkmann, who studies deaths caused by asphyxiation, said on December 12 that he believes autopsies that concluded that Aliev hanged himself were wrong.

Speaking at a press conference with Brinkmann in Vienna, lawyers for Aliev's widow said they are now seeking a renewed investigation.

Aliev was a former Kazakh ambassador to Austria and state security service deputy chief who became a vocal critic of Nazarbaev and was subsequently accused of murdering two Kazakh bankers in 2007.

Aliev denied the charge and said the case was politically motivated.

Austria, which twice refused to extradite Aliev to Kazakhstan because of the former Soviet republic's human rights record, opened its own investigation in 2011. Prosecutors charged him in December 2014.

Brinkmann said that after analyzing autopsy results and photos of Aliev's body, he concluded that Aliev was killed in a style known as "burking" in which assailants asphyxiate a victim while leaving few traces of violence on the body.

Aliev remarried after his divorce from Nazarbaev's daughter Darigha.