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Former Kazakh National Security Chief Imprisoned

Nartai Dutbaev, former chairman of the National Security Committee of Kazakhstan (file photo)

ASTANA -- Former Kazakh National Security Committee (KNB) chief Nartai Dutbaev has been convicted on espionage charges and sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison, Kazakhstan's Military Court said on September 11.

According to the court, Dutbaev was found guilty of disclosing state secrets and abuse of office and sentenced on August 27.

Two former subordinates and a fourth defendant were sentenced to prison terms of 3 1/2 to 5 years.

Authorities have not described the nature of the secrets at issue or named any country they are accused of disclosing them to.

Dutbaev headed the KNB in 2001-2006. He resigned in February 2006 after officers of the KNB's elite Arystan (Lion) unit were accused of involvement in the kidnapping and killing of opposition leader Altynbek Sarsenbaiuly and two of his assistants in Almaty.

Dutbaev and the two former subordinates were arrested in December.

The trial started on July 17 and was held behind closed doors.

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