Former Kazakh minister gets 24 years for his wife’s murder

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Kazakhstan’s former Economy Minister Kuandyk Bishimbayev is convicted in his wife’s murder.

KUWAIT CITY, May 14: Former Kazakh Economy Minister Kuandyk Bishimbayev was sentenced to 24 years in prison on Monday for the murder of his wife, Saltanat Nukenova, following a highly publicized trial that underscored the nation’s commitment to women’s rights.

The court found Bishimbayev guilty of torture and murder after a trial that spanned seven weeks and was broadcast live, reflecting the government’s determination to hold even elite members accountable under the law.

During the trial, CCTV footage revealed Bishimbayev assaulting Nukenova, dragging her by her hair into a room where she later succumbed to her injuries. Disturbing videos found on Bishimbayev’s phone depicted him verbally abusing and humiliating Nukenova in her final hours before she lost consciousness on November 9, 2023.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who succeeded long-time leader Nursultan Nazarbayev five years ago, has prioritized the advancement of women’s rights as part of his vision for a more equitable society.

The high-profile case has galvanized public support for legislation criminalizing domestic violence, which was recently passed by parliament. Government statistics reveal that one in six women in Kazakhstan has endured violence from a male partner.

Throughout the trial, Bishimbayev admitted to physically assaulting his wife but claimed that some of her injuries were self-inflicted. He vehemently denied any involvement in torturing or planning her murder.

Bishimbayev previously served as Kazakhstan’s economy minister from May to December 2016. In 2018, he was convicted of bribery and sentenced to 10 years in prison but was released after less than three years due to an amnesty and parole.

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