Accessibility links

Breaking News

Sentence Softened After Convict In Kazakh Olympic Skater's Killing Gives Birth

Kazakh figure skater Denis Ten died in Almaty in 2018 when he confronted two thieves who were trying to steal his car mirrors. (file photo)
Kazakh figure skater Denis Ten died in Almaty in 2018 when he confronted two thieves who were trying to steal his car mirrors. (file photo)

A court in Kazahkstan has softened the sentence imposed on a woman convicted of involvement in Olympic figure-skater Denis Ten's killing, mitigating the punishment after she gave birth in prison.

Ten, who won a bronze medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, was fatally stabbed in central Almaty in July 2018. Two men, Arman Qudaibergenov and Nuraly Qiyasov, were found guilty of the murder and sentenced to 18 years in prison in January.

A third defendant, Zhanar Tolybaeva, was convicted of failing to report a crime and handed a four-year prison sentence.

On March 13, an appeals court in Almaty ruled that Tolybaeva must be transferred to a minimum-security colony because she had had a child since her incarceration. Tolybaeva, 22, gave birth to a boy on March 6.

The appeals court upheld the sentences handed down to Qudaibergenov and Qiyasov, who stabbed Ten after he confronted them while they were trying to steal the side-view mirrors of his car.

At trial, the pair pleaded guilty to theft but not guilty to premeditated murder, contending that they had not planned to kill the skater. Tolybaeva pleaded guilty of not reporting the plan to steal Ten's car mirrors.

Minimum-security colonies in Kazakhstan, also known as settlement colonies, are penitentiaries in which convicts live close to a facility where they work. Inmates can move around without being guarded, wear regular clothes, receive regular salaries and meet with relatives and friends on a regular basis.

Ten, who was 25 years old when he was killed, was the first Kazakh figure skater to win an Olympic medal. He also won medals at the world championships in 2013 and 2015.

His killing shocked Kazakhs and figure-skating fans worldwide.

  • 16x9 Image

    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service offers informed and accurate reporting in the Kazakh and Russian languages about issues that matter in Kazakhstan, while providing a dynamic platform for audience engagement and the free exchange of news and ideas.

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

If you are in Russia and hold a Russian passport or are a stateless person residing permanently in Russia, please note that you could face fines or imprisonment for sharing, liking, commenting on, or saving our content, or for contacting us.

To find out more, click here.