The criminal case against Samat Abish, nephew of the former President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, is set to proceed to trial in Astana. The investigation conducted by the General Prosecutor’s Office has concluded, and the case has been transferred to the courts. This will be the first time a relative of Nazarbayev has been tried on charges related to the violent events of January 2022. Details of the pre-trial investigation will not be made available to the public, as the case involves state secrets.
Abish is being charged under Article 362 (Part 4) of the Criminal Code, “Exceeding official powers,” which could result in up to five years imprisonment and the confiscation of property if he is convicted. Abish, aged 45, is the son of Satybaldy Abishevich Nazarbayev, the younger brother of the former president who died in a car accident in 1981. Abish took his surname in honor of his grandfather.
Abish lost his position as the First Deputy Chairman of the National Security Committee of Kazakhstan on January 5th 2022, amidst riots across the country. Alongside him, the head of the KNB, Karim Massimov, and the Prime Minister, Askar Mamin, were also dismissed. Two days later, Abish was detained in Almaty and charged in connection with the January events. Investigators attributed primary responsibility for the tumultuous events of early 2022 to Karim Massimov, Abish’s direct supervisor, and his three deputies.
President Tokayev stated during an extraordinary session of the CSTO Collective Security Council on January 10th 2023, that the events were an attempt to seize power by high-ranking officials. Abish’s sibling, Kairat Satybaldy, was convicted on corruption charges last year for embezzling tens of millions of U.S. dollars.