• KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01151 0.87%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00217 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09413 -0.42%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 25

Kuandyk Bishimbayev Sentenced to 24 Years for the Murder of Saltanat Nukenova

Kuandyk Bishimbayev, a former Minister of National Economy of Kazakhstan under then-President Nursultan Nazarbayev, was sentenced on Monday to 24 years in prison in the specialized inter-district investigative court of Astana for torturing and murdering his common-law wife, Saltanat Nukenova, at the Gastrocenter Restaurant on November 9, 2023. The verdict and sentence in an Astana courtroom followed a live-streamed trial that galvanized discussion about domestic violence in Kazakhstan and tested the ability of the criminal justice system to hold the powerful and influential to account. Rallies in support of Nukenova spread outside of Kazakhstan, and were staged in Czechia, Georgia, Italy, Spain, and numerous other countries. [caption id="attachment_17886" align="alignnone" width="2048"] A rally in Prague in support of Saltanat Nukenova. Image Source: Asel Kamiyeva [/caption] Judge Aizhan Kulbaeva read out the ruling after a jury trial as Bishimbayev stood in the glass-paneled dock, his head bowed at one point. He had acknowledged beating Nukenova and said his actions, which were captured on CCTV video, led to her death. But he claimed he did not intend to kill her. "Bishimbayev Kuandyk Alikhanovich has been found guilty of committing criminal offenses under p. 1. 2 part 2 of article 110 ("Torture") and point 5 part 2 of article 99 ("Murder"). 2 part 2 of article 99 ("Murder") of the Criminal Code," stated the judge. He was sentenced to 7 years on the first count, and 20 years on the second, which after a partial addition of terms amounted to 24 years in prison. [caption id="attachment_17896" align="alignnone" width="1200"] Image from the Astana court session[/caption] In addition, the director of Gastrocenter, Bakhytzhan Baizhanov was found guilty of harboring a particularly serious crime in advance and sentenced to four years in prison in a medium security penal institution, with time already served being taken into account. During the trial, as public outrage over Nukenova’s killing simmered in Kazakhstan, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed a new law in April in line with OECD standards which tightens the penalties for domestic violence and provides more help for survivors. The legislation became widely-dubbed, "Saltanat's Law." The response to Saltanat Nukenova's harrowing attack signals a positive trend for women’s rights in the region. The case quickly advanced to a jury trial, given full transparency via a live broadcast, with a female prosecutor at the helm — a clear stance on gender violence in Kazakhstan. Human Rights Watch commended the law as a step forward, but say it should have designated domestic violence as “stand-alone offense,” which would allow other types of violence within the family, such as psychological or sexual, to be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted. The UNDP, meanwhile, commended “legislative initiatives protecting women’s [and] children’s rights,” calling them a “crucial step towards equality, justice [and] safety for all citizens” that “lay a foundation for a stable, prosperous society.” This is not be the first time that Bishimbayev has been sentenced. In 2018 he received a ten-year sentence for accepting bribes, but after less than a year later he was pardoned...

Bishimbayev: Kazakhstan Awaits Verdict in Pivotal Murder Case

This is not in doubt in the live-streamed trial in Kazakhstan: The former economy minister brutally beat his wife and she died from her injuries. Was it murder with particular cruelty and torture, as prosecutors allege? Or was the killing unintentional, making it a lesser crime commensurate with manslaughter or culpable homicide, as the defense says? After weeks of dramatic testimony, the jury is expected to deliberate and reach a verdict soon. Whichever way it goes, the decision in the trial of Kuandyk Bishimbayev, whose fatal beating of Saltanat Nukenova at a restaurant in Almaty, Kazakhstan in November was partly captured in CCTV footage, is one chapter in a fraught reckoning over domestic violence that is only just emerging into the open in a Central Asian country where speaking out is sometimes discouraged. In other countries where powerful men have been accused of murdering female partners, some sensational cases have, at least temporarily, energized debate and campaigns to protect women from domestic violence even if the legal outcomes have bitterly disappointed the families of the dead. There was the trial of athlete and celebrity O.J. Simpson, acquitted in the 1994 deaths of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in Los Angeles. In South Africa, former Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius was freed on parole in January, 11 years after murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in a Valentine's Day shooting. As public outrage over Nukenova’s killing simmered in Kazakhstan, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed a new law in April, inline with OECD standards, that tightens penalties for domestic violence and provides more help for survivors. Human Rights Watch is among groups that have commended the law as a step forward but say it should have designated domestic violence as  “stand-alone offense,” which would allow other types of violence within the family, such as psychological or sexual, to be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted. The trial has thrust Kazakhstan’s criminal justice system, which can often be opaque, into the international spotlight. The unprecedented access to the Astana courtroom for online viewers has generally reflected well on Kazakhstan, showcasing a female judge, Aizhan Kulbaeva, as well as female prosecutor Aizhan Aimaganova, who at one point held up a bottle of red liquid to show the size of the fatal blood clot in Nukenova’s head. Aimaganova also said Bishimbayev tried to cover up the crime and that, while he had a mind and intellect, there was “no heart” nor any shred of remorse and compassion in his eyes. The jury consists of ten citizens and the judge, who is likely to hold considerable sway over the group. A simple majority is needed to reach a verdict. Kazakhstan started introducing jury trials in 2007 and has received U.S. and European guidance over the years. In 2018, Bishimbayev was sentenced to jail time for corruption, but was later released as part of an amnesty. If convicted of murder, he could face 15 years to life in prison. In his final remarks in court, he said he was sorry...

Uzbek Businesswoman Diora Usmanova Recounts Own History of Marital Violence

Diora Usmanova, the owner of two restaurants and some clothing brands in Uzbekistan, has spoken on her Instagram page about the beatings she suffered from her first husband, Babur Usmanov, who was the nephew of the billionaire Alisher Usmanov. Usmanova herself is related to Ziroatkhon Mirziyoyeva, the wife of Uzbek president Shavkat Mirziyoyev. Usmanova wrote that the story could cause her harm, but that she believes the benefits will "outweigh the risks a hundredfold" and will "change perceptions or somehow affect women who endure domestic violence and abuse," Gazeta.uz reported. "We loved each other and fought very hard for our marriage. Subsequently, when he started to raise his hand against me and when these beatings went on, and the beatings continued for four years, there were concussions, and a lot of blood, and bruises, and [my] whole body in bruises, and a lot of broken furniture, doors, everything," she said. Domestic violence is not only the man's fault, but also the woman's, Usmanova said. "We don't value ourselves enough, we're not brave enough, we're not strong enough, we're afraid to give a backhand, we're afraid to tell our parents, we're afraid to go back to our parents, we're afraid to start everything again. For the fact that we hope that it will change, that it will [bear] some good fruits in the future, that it will survive -- this is all our problem," Usmanova said. In her opinion, women should terminate harmful relationships and find the strength to leave -- and most importantly, learn to respect themselves. "You have to leave such relationships. [That's] because of the fact that you forgive once, forgive the second time, and then it becomes a habit, a person realizes that it is forgiven, it can end very badly, [a] whole life just poisoned. I did not find the strength then, and now after 10 years, I look back and realize how many mistakes were made on my part and how much is my fault. Just like [it was] his," she stated. On May 8, 2013, Babur Usmanov was involved in a fatal car accident in Tashkent. In 2016, Usmanova married businessman Batyr Rakhimov.

Kazakh Embassy Counselor in UAE Recalled After Domestic Violence Allegations

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan has recalled an Embassy Counselor from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saken Mamash, after the publication of a video message by his wife, Karina Mamash, who alleged ongoing domestic violence, according to a report in Kursiv.kz. "We urgently recalled this employee to Kazakhstan. Further, his case will be dealt with by law enforcement agencies," said an official representative of the ministry. Karina Mamash's appeal was published on an Instagram page run the public foundation, "NeMolchi" (Don't Remain Silent"). In the video, Mamash accuses her husband of years of violence, and expresses fear for her own safety and the safety of their children. "My name is Karina Mamash Gosmanovna. My husband, counselor to the Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the UAE, yesterday beat me and my sister, who came to visit me on the 3rd [of May]. I demand help from our state. I am tired of being silent. I am tired of tolerating. For ten years he has been raping me, beating me. I am in danger, and my children are in danger around him. I demand help from our state. Help me," she said, attaching photos of herself and her sister with bruises on their faces to the post. Karina Mamash also insisted that her husband be "stripped of his status as a diplomat and put in jail for all the abuse." Domestic violence has become a key topic of discussion in Kazakhstan amid the high-profile case of Kuandyk Bishimbayev for allegedly killing his common-law wife, Saltanat Nukenova. On April 15, President Tokayev signed into law amendments and additions passed by Kazakhstan’s parliament ensuring the rights of women and the safety of children. The initiative represents a first in the CIS in terms of how far it goes to provide protection for women and children in the country.

A View from the Rally in Prague in Support of Saltanat Nukenova

On Sunday, 21 April in the center of Prague on Wenceslas Square, some 200 people attended a rally in memory of Saltanat Nukenova and in protest against violence against women. The event took place against the backdrop of the trial of former Kazakh minister, Kuandyk Bishimbayev, who is accused of torturing and murdering Saltanat Nukenova, with whom he was bound in a common-law marriage. In an interview with The Times of Central Asia, Aruzhan, one of the organizers, described the various problems encountered by the team, beginning with the hostile criticism expressed by many young hecklers with little or no knowledge of the situation. “We were bombarded with comments like, ‘Kazakhstan has enough problems;’ ‘Why didn't you come out for the floods?’, ‘Only one person died,’ and so on. It was both frustrating and unpleasant to see that side of our young people but I think, and hope, that the rally woke some of them up and changed their minds.There were also those in Saltanat Ushin's group who twice expressed their ‘valuable opinion’ and provoked quarrels between the participants." Image: Asel Kamiyeva   Despite a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan that it was happy for its youth to speak out, there was a marked absence of support from the embassy. Aruzhan said it was disappointing, but nowhere near as bad as what happened in Tbilisi, where during a similar rally the Kazakh embassy had openly threatened and called in the organizers. Aruzhan explained that officials had accused the organizers of acting in defiance of the embassy, and, whilst logging their details, told them they should be ashamed and focus instead on other problems. She said that they been repeatedly told, "the law's already been passed, so calm down.” “In every city where a rally was held, the embassy behaved in this way, even after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement claiming they supported our action and were happy for us to express our position." Aruzhan described an incident which illustrated that a close eye was being kept on proceedings: "Before the rally, a large car arrived on site. Intimidating-looking men leapt out, made a quick assessment of the number of people gathered, and drove off. They spoke in Russian and Kazakh." Image: Asel Kamiyeva   Another challenge facing the organizers, was the lack of media support. "The groups to which I made initial announcements about the rally deleted my posts, explaining that they had 'cultural content that does not concern politics'. It was funny and sad to read this; funny that we are perceived not to touch politics, and sad that they are so shaken by it. In Istanbul, the embassy scared people so much that they gave up the idea of going to the rally. At our rally, we shot reportage that came out more like a social video. Not a single media outlet picked it up. I think that says a lot about how censorship works. So we turned to bloggers, Russian-speaking media...

Kuandyk Bishimbayev Pleads Guilty to Negligent Homicide

  The judicial inquiry into the case of Kuandyk Bishimbayev concluded on April 24 in Astana. Aitbek Amangeldy, the brother of Saltanat Nukenova, announced that further court dates are scheduled for April 29, 30, and May 2-4. Bishimbayev, who formerly served as Kazakhstan's National Economy Minister, faces allegations of murdering his partner Saltanat Nukenova in November 2023, at the Bau restaurant in Astana. He was detained on the day of the incident. The trial commenced towards the end of March. Bishimbayev could receive a sentence ranging from 15 to 20 years to life imprisonment, depending on the severity of the crime as determined by the court. A jury will be instructed to reach a verdict regarding his culpability.   At the end of the session, Judge Aizhan Kulbaeva sought to clarify whether Bishimbayev has changed his position via-a-vis the charges - "In the main trial, when the prosecutor read out the indictment, brought charges and clarified your position on those charges, at that time your position was that you do not fully admit guilt on two episodes of the charges brought against you… Does your position remain the same?" the judge inquired. "I do not plead guilty to the charge of torture. In the part of the charge of premeditated murder with particular cruelty, I admit that I inflicted beatings that led to the death of Nukenova. But I do not admit that I did it deliberately, that I wanted her dead and acted with particular cruelty," replied Bishimbayev. "Do you plead guilty to having inflicted grievous bodily harm, which caused Nukenova's death through negligence?" the judge sought to clarify. "Yes," the ex-minister replied. Photo screenshot from the broadcast of the trial; text reads "she is covered in blood and bruises."   Meanwhile, the second defendant, Bykhytzhan Bayzhanov, stated before the court that he pleads not guilty to charges of under-reporting and concealment.

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