• KGS/USD = 0.01138 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09310 0.43%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01138 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09310 0.43%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01138 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09310 0.43%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01138 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09310 0.43%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01138 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09310 0.43%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01138 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09310 0.43%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01138 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09310 0.43%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01138 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00226 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09310 0.43%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

Viewing results 1 - 6 of 16

“I Hope Saltanat’s Family Can Find Peace” – Women of Kazakhstan Speak Out on Bishimbayev’s Sentence

On November 9, 2023, former Kazakh Minister of the National Economy, Kuandyk Bishimbayev was caught on surveillance cameras arguing with and then brutally beating his common-law wife, 31-year-old Saltanat Nukenova, for around eight hours outside a restaurant he owned in Astana. A forensic examination showed that she had been strangled, but the cause of death was recorded as traumatic injury to the brain. The high-profile case which was live-streamed garnered international attention. Despite pleading not guilty to premeditated murder, Bishimbayev was sentenced to 24 years’ imprisonment for torturing and murdering Nukenova, and his cousin Bakytzhan Baizhanov to four years for his part in covering up the crime. Prosecutor Aizhan Aimaganova, who became widely-known during the trial, said in an interview with Tengrinews.kz that she believes the verdict will change the country forever. "Family and domestic violence is a pressing problem... I hope that after this trial, women will realize that going to law enforcement is not useless. It is necessary to talk about problems. I think now any domestic tyrant will think twice before raising his hand," she said. [caption id="attachment_18029" align="aligncenter" width="872"] Prosecutor Aizhan Aimaganova; image: Press service of the Astana Court[/caption] While the length of the sentence is a victory for advocates against gender-based violence, both within Kazakhstan and in the many parts of Europe where the trial was also followed closely, many Kazakhs feel it is still too early to say that justice has been done. In an open discussion that is rare in Central Asia, many citizens are posting their concerns on social media that the Nazarbayev-era official will find a way to get out of prison early: there is already speculation that Bishimbayev, a former member of the country’s elite, will leverage his political connections to secure an early release – or be recognized as terminally ill. Following the verdict, TCA took to the streets of Kazakhstan to ask women their opinion. "I finally feel relieved,” Sara, an SMM manager from Astana told TCA. “Twenty-four years is a justified sentence in my opinion. Although tragic, this case drew public attention to a great many issues, such as the need for both a new law against domestic abuse and charities to support victims of domestic violence, which is very prominent in Kazakhstan. The whole country watched the case unfold, and that attention was put to good use since many other domestic violence cases got the attention they deserved. I hope that our justice system will make sure that Bishimbayev doesn't get a chance to get out early and serve his full sentence. The same applies to Baizhanov." "Considering various aspects, including the status of his family and the presence of his children, this sentence is probably objective, especially given the jury's involvement,” 21-year-old journalist, Kamila told TCA. “The main issue now is to prevent his release on parole once the unrest subsides, though I know this is only possible if the victim’s family give their consent.” "From an objective point of view, 24-years for a brutal...

Kuandyk Bishimbayev Given 24 Years in Prison — But Kazakhs Ask How Long He Will Really Serve

On May 13, Kazakhstan’s former Minister of National Economy Kuandyk Bishimbayev was sentenced to 24 years in prison for the torture and murder of his common-law wife Saltanat Nukenova in November 2023. While the length of the sentence is a victory for advocates against gender-based violence, both within Kazakhstan and in the many parts of Europe where the trial was also followed closely, many Kazakhs feel that it is still too early to say that justice has been done. In an open discussion that is rare in Central Asia, many citizens are posting their concerns on social media that the Nazarbayev-era official will find a way to get out of prison early: there is already speculation that Bishimbayev, a former member of the country’s elite, will leverage his political connections to secure an early release – or be recognized as terminally ill. Attempting to quell these fears, state prosecutor Aizhan Aimaganova has said that under Kazakhstani law, Bishimbayev will be able to apply for parole only after serving 16 years, two-thirds of his sentence – and only then with the consent of Saltanat Nukenova’s family, guided by her brother, Aitbek Amangeldy. Saltanat Nukenova's murder has shown that civil society is very much alive in President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s Kazakhstan. As previously reported, shortly after her death in November last year, a public movement called Zhana Adamdar organized an authorized rally in Almaty to raise awareness about violence against women and children. Yesterday, on the day of the sentencing, supporters of another Kazakh feminist movement, Feminita, protested in Almaty, Kazakhstan's biggest city. The group is demanding life imprisonment for Saltanat Nukenova’s murderer. "We do not agree with this sentence; [Bishimbayev] should sit in prison for life. He will come out sooner anyway – we urge you never to be silent: if you have the desire and will for it, resist," Vlast.kz quoted Feminita co-founder Zhanar Sekerbaeva as saying. The spokesperson for the Astana court where Bishimbayev was sentenced, Alma Yesymova, has commented that he has received the maximum possible sentence for the crimes he was found guilty of: murder and torture. "The punishment was imposed for committing a particularly grave crime – murder. The sanction for this is a maximum of 20 years of imprisonment. And by partial addition of terms [Bishimbayev] was given four more years for torture. Under the law the very maximum sentence is 25 years, while he was given 24 years," Yesymova said at a press conference after the trial. The trial itself drew criticism from Kazakhstan’s legal professionals. Lawyers and human rights activists are unsatisfied with how both the prosecution and the defense were conducted. Following Nukenova's death, President Tokayev signed a Decree in December 2023 to improve human rights and the rule of law, including by promoting gender equality, combating any form of domestic violence and enhancing the performance of the criminal justice system (which, among other things, involved increasing penalties for perpetrators of domestic violence). The human rights components of the President’s reform agenda was...

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...

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.

Bishimbayev Trial: Will the “Show” Shift Reality?

The trial of Kuandyk Bishimbayev, accused of murdering his common-law wife, Saltanat Nukenova, is coming to an end with the verdict now in the hands of the jury. The trial has resonated widely in Kazakhstani society, but according to Gulmira Ileuova, a sociologist and head of the public foundation, Strategy: Center for Social and Political Research, Kazakhstan still has a long way to go to successfully fight abusive relationships. Ileuva commented on the case in an interview with the Times of Central Asia.   TCA: In Kazakhstan, Bishimbayev's trial has received a huge amount of attention, and Nukenova's death is being discussed at home and abroad, with rallies being held in her memory. Moreover, a law toughening penalties for domestic violence has recently been passed. Will that help to radically change the situation with violence to which thousands of Kazakhstani women are subjected every year? Ileuova: It seems to me that Bishimbayev's trial has influenced some categories of people - those who are ready to listen and draw conclusions. But society in a broader sense will not be overtly affected by this situation. Specialists are watching the trial, examining the behavior of lawyers, prosecutors, and other participants. Conclusions are also being drawn that the arguments used by the defense remain childish, infantile. Public opinion attributes to Bishimbayev's lawyers, let's say, the moral image of Bishimbayev himself. Psychologists will also draw conclusions: about problems with upbringing, family relations, etc. But in general, the feeling is that of a show having been created, captivating the audience, and making [the audience] terrified or delighted. Emotional swings are created, adrenaline is produced, and accordingly, people watch and get involved. But I doubt that there has been a profound shift in society against the backdrop of the trial. There needs to be a lot of additional activities, outreach, to tie the new law on domestic violence, in particular, to direct practice. Just the other day, the wife of a Kazakhstani diplomat appealed to the authorities for protection, saying that her husband had been torturing her for years and had beaten her again. This particular man did not draw any conclusions from Bishimbayev's story, including concerning his own actions. This official should have realized that the president was one of the most active initiators of the law on domestic violence. Of course, further public reaction will also be influenced by the expected decision of the court in the Bishimbayev case. If the principle of the inevitability of punishment and changes in the judicial system are demonstrated, there will be a certain shift. However, for now it is perceived mainly as a show. There is still an educational effect [only] in a small segment of society.   TCA: Why doesn't society perceive such clear signals? Why isn't there a shift to zero tolerance for domestic violence? Ileuova: We want change too fast, which is hardly possible because the inertia within society is huge. If women are sold for kalym (bride price or dowry), then they are still...

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