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Court Rejects Protest By Murdered Kazakh Opposition Leader's Relatives


A Kazakh court has rejected a protest by relatives of a murdered opposition leader against the early release of an organizer of the murder.

On December 10, the Court of Appeals in Astana upheld a November 7 ruling that said Erzhan Otembaev, the former administrative head of the Kazakh parliament, could be released on parole for "good behavior."

Otembaev was sentenced in 2006 to 20 years in jail for ordering the murders of Kazakh opposition leader Altynbek Sarsenbaiuly, also known as Sarsenbaev, and two of his associates.

But last December, Kazakh officials announced that new evidence showed the murders were organized by Rakhat Aliev, the former son-in-law of President Nursultan Nazarbaev, and former National Security Committee chief Alnur Musaev.

In February, Otembaev was retried and sentenced to 13 years in jail for coordinating the murders.

The court on December 10 also recommended investigations of Aliev and Musaev, who have been living in self-imposed exile in Europe since 2007.

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    RFE/RL's Kazakh Service

    RFE/RL's Radio Azattyq has been an important source of information for people in Kazakhstan for decades. In 2009, Azattyq won the prestigious 2009 Online Journalism Award for "standing in defense of citizen’s rights to seek and receive information."

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