MOSCOW, January 27 (RIA Novosti) – A court in Kazakhstan began the retrial Monday in the case of a former senior Senate official accused of ordering the high-profile murder of a leading opposition figure.
Opposition leader and former government official Altynbek Sarsenbayev was kidnapped and shot dead together with his driver and bodyguard in the city of Almaty in February 2006 in what his supporters believe was a politically motivated crime.
A court found Yerzhan Utembayev, the former chief of staff of the upper house of parliament, guilty of masterminding the killing and sentenced him to 20 years in jail later in 2006. Ten other men were also convicted in connection with the crime.
In December, a top court overturned the verdict against Utembayev and ordered a retrial.
The ruling came after one of those convicted in the original case appealed to the Supreme Court in 2012, claiming that the killings were in fact ordered by Alnur Musayev, former head of the National Security Committee, and Rakhat Aliyev, the erstwhile son-in-law of President Nursultan Nazarbayev and also a former deputy head of the security services. Before falling definitively from grace, Aliyev served as his country's envoy to Austria.
Both Musayev and Aliyev have fled Kazakhstan and have been given lengthy prison sentences in absentia on unrelated charges.