KAZAKHSTAN. MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR MURDER OF OPPOSITION LEADER
August 31, 2006: former security officer Rustam Ibragimov, one of the two key defendants in the murder trial of opposition leader Altynbek Sarsenbaev, was sentenced to death.
The court sentenced the second main defendant, a former official in the Senate administration, Erzhan Utembaev, to 20 years in jail. Another eight people received prison terms of between three and 20 years. The Sarsenbaev murder trial began on June 14 in Taldy-Qorgan, some 250 kilometers north of Almaty.
Sarsenbaev's relatives and supporters believe the assassination in February of the Naghiz Ak-Zhol opposition party leader, his bodyguard, and his driver was commissioned by higher-ranking state officials.
They called the trial "a farce" and vowed to proceed with their own investigation into the triple murder. (Sources: RFE/RL, 31/08/2006)