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Nazarbayev’s Nephew Samat Abish Handed Eight-Year Suspended Sentence

An Astana court has found Samat Abish, a nephew of Kazakhstan's former president Nursultan Nazarbayev, guilty of "exceeding power or official authority" and given him an eight-year suspended sentence. Abish, the former deputy chairman of the National Security Committee (KNB), had his criminal case classified as "secret," and all court sessions were held behind closed doors. "By the court's verdict, [Abish] was found guilty of committing a crime under Part 4 of Article 362 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and sentenced to eight years of imprisonment with deprivation of the right to hold certain positions for 10 years. On the basis of article 63 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan, it [was] decided to consider the appointed punishment as conditional", reads a message from the inter-district criminal court of Astana. Mitigating circumstances for Abish included his young children, and the fact that he admitted his guilt and showed remorse. The court made an additional ruling to strip Abish of all of his state awards. Abish is the son of Satybaldy Nazarbayev, the younger brother of Kazakhstan's first president. Abish's father died in 1981 in a car accident. Nursultan Nazarbayev's nephew was appointed deputy chairman of the National Security Committee in 2013, and in 2015 became first deputy. Abish lost this position on January 17, 2022 after the unrest in the country and the subsequent detention of KNB head Karim Masimov.  At the time, the country's prosecutor general said that Abish was being held as a witness in the investigation into the unrest. In September last year it emerged that a criminal case had been opened against Abish. He came under investigation after the former head of a KNB department said that he had been following orders from his first deputy during the unrest that January. Abish was charged with abuse of power and abuse of authority. Another nephew of Nursultan Nazarbayev, Samat Abish's older brother Kairat Satybaldy, is accused of money laundering. He has been in prison since 2022 on charges of grand embezzlement. The trial is scheduled for April 1.

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