Trial of Former Minister Bishimbayev Charged with Murdering Wife Begins

Former Minister of the Economy, Kuandyk Bishimbayev; image from the Astana court session.

On March 27, the trial of former Minister of the Economy, Kuandyk Bishimbayev, who is accused of murdering his wife, Saltanat Nukenova, began in Astana. A live broadcast of the trial was available on the YouTube channel of the Supreme Court.

Preliminary hearings in the case against former Minister, Kuandyk Bishimbayev had begun on March 11, with the indictment being read out and the defense filing a motion asking for a jury trial.

In court yesterday, the prosecutor, Aizhan Aimaganova read out a long list of injuries sustained by Nukenova as revealed during her autopsy: “Closed craniocerebral trauma, multiple abrasions, facial bruising, splinter fracture of the nasal bones, wounds to the chin area, hemorrhage in the soft tissues of the face, head, and occipital area, and acute subdural hematoma. When analyzing Nukenova’s internal organs, no narcotic, medicinal or psychotropic substances were found,” Aimaganova added.

“Kuandyk Bishimbayev is accused of causing physical and mental suffering by means of systematic beatings or other violent actions committed against a person who was financially dependent on the perpetrator,” the prosecution stated.

Following the prosecutor’s speech, the judge asked the defendant for his plea, to which Bishimbayev replied “not guilty” before explaining the reasons for his response.

“I didn’t have a chance to tell my story at the pre-trial investigation, not anywhere. At all. Everything read out by the prosecutor are largely fabrications, for which there is no confirmation or evidence. According to Article 110, I have not committed such a crime at all. Therefore, I do not admit my guilt,” Bishimbayev stated, adding that he hoped for an opportunity to express himself thoroughly.

To the next count, namely article 99, part 2, paragraph 5, “Murder committed with particular cruelty,” Beshimbayev also pled not guilty, stating that “I did not commit the premeditated murder of a human being with particular cruelty.”

Also in court accused of concealing a serious crime, Bakhytzhan Baizhanov, the director of BAU’s Gastro-center where the crime allegedly took place, said he was not sure if he had committed this crime.

“I confess that I asked to delete the video recordings [from the surveillance cameras] and asked to take Saltanat’s phone home [to hide the geolocation]. I don’t know if I committed a crime. At that time, I didn’t know whether Saltanat was dying or dead,” Baizhanov said.

The next session in the case is scheduled for March 29.


What Bishimbayev is accused of:

Article 110, part 2, paragraph 1, item 1 of the Criminal Code: “Causing physical and mental suffering by systematic beatings with violent actions committed against a person who is materially dependent on the perpetrator”;

Article 99, part 2, paragraph 5: “Murder committed with particular cruelty”;

Article 14, paragraph 2 – according to the prosecution’s version, Bishimbayev’s actions are considered a dangerous recidivism of this crime. The law states that “Dangerous repetition of crimes shall be recognized as commission by person.”