Bishimbayev Trial: Baizhanov Could Not Be Intimidated


Kuandyk Bishimbayev's relative, manager of the "GastroCenter", Bakhytzhan Baizhanov, testified in court on 11 April, 2024. He shared details about the day of Saltanat Nukenova's death, casting doubt on Bishimbayev's defense, reports .


Bishimbayev's defense seemed to know from the get-go that their version may fall apart, thus they used all the tricks in the book to delay the process while trying their best to exclude inconvenient evidence. 

Lawyer Yerlan Gazymzhanov was on his own in the morning. The other two other lawyers, Leila Ramazanova and Nazken Kusainova, were late for the session. They claimed that this was because of other proceedings. 

Yerlan Gazymzhanov protested, not allowing the affected party to read out the testimony of Gulnara, a blogger, from the case materials. Bishimbayev reportedly met with the blogger at the BAU restaurant, while Saltanat Nukenova was dying nearby in the VIP room. 

As Judge Aizhan Kulbayeva once again explained why the testimony should be allowed, Yerlan Gazymzhanov requested to recuse the judge as a last resort.

The court warns you, lawyer, for violating the norm of the Criminal Procedure Code. Despite repeated warnings from the court. I request the participants in the process to rise. Jurors, please leave,
 Judge Aizhan Kulbayeva responded. 

By law, issues such as recusal must be considered in the jury's absence. Thus, the court adjourned. The motion for recusal was reviewed in less than an hour, however.

Per the norms of the CPC, the challenge was considered by the judge of the same court, Seifulla Tasymbetov, without the participation of jurors and Judge Kulbayeva. As a result of consideration by the court's decision, the judge's recusal, declared by the defense party, has been rejected,
 the press service of the Supreme Court reported.

The court resumed.

Truly Sorry

Upon Aizhan Kulbayeva's return, Bakhytzhan Baizhanov's lawyers requested to change the previously defined procedure of the judicial investigation.

For the context to be clear to the court and the jury, we request that Baizhanov be questioned at this stage, and after that continue to study the materials of the criminal case,
 Gaziz Yntykbayev, Baizhanov's lawyer, addressed the court.

The parties to the process either supported the lawyer or left this decision to the court's discretion. Aizhan Kulbayeva satisfied the request.


Bakhytzhan Baizhanov immediately noted that in social networks he is often referred to as Bishimbayev's "cousin". He is a distant relative on his father's side, though. 

Baizhanov would later point out his lack of kindred feelings or support for Bishimbayev.

He then shared his version of the day Saltanat Nukenova was killed, shattering the version of Kuandyk Bishimbayev and his lawyers.

Bakhytzhan said that Saltanat was known for her calmness and kindness. Her de facto husband, on the other hand, would raise his voice at Saltanat and other people. Bakhytzhan Baizhanov also stated that he saw Nukenova's bruises more than once.

Bishimbayev, judging by the testimony, treated Saltanat Nukenova in such a way that Baizhanov felt sorry for her, but he did not dare to intervene.

I truly felt sorry for Saltanat, but my Kazakh mentality, Kazakh upbringing, and modest nature would not let me point out, give advice to Bishimbayev, interfere in their family relations. I grew up with the belief that family issues should be resolved within the family, Bakhytzhan Baizhanov explained.

He spoke about how the battered Saltanat was lying with a swollen face. At that time, Bishimbayev believed that she was just sleeping and decided to go about his business, have a couple of meetings, and grab something to eat.

I Will Speak Nothing But The Truth

In the afternoon, the parties to the trial began questioning the defendant. 

It would turn out that Baizhanov's first lawyer may have been working with Bishimbayev's lawyers.
"How do you explain why earlier in your testimony you did not speak ill of Bishimbayev, as you are now,"
 lawyer Yerlan Gazymzhanov asked.

Baizhanov replied that he was told to speak this way by his initial lawyer Abylkhatov, a participant in the pre-trial investigation.

When I was detained, I got a lawyer. He told me: 'Don't say that, don't say that.' In December, I realized that this lawyer had communicated with Bishimbayev's lawyers. Upon learning this, I refused his services. After all this, I gave truthful statements. Let them pass judgment on me, I will speak only the truth,
 Bakhytzhan Baizhanov said.

After Bishimbayev's lawyers questioned Baizhanov, Bishimbayev declared that he had no questions for his relative. 

State prosecutor Sayakhat Nurbekov clarified if there were guards in the "GastroCenter" where the BAU restaurant is located, which of the guards called Baizhanov, and why Bishimbayev asked his relative to delete the video.

He didn't tell me the reason. But I thought they were pacing up and down there at night, maybe something got on the cameras, the defendant said.

Baizhanov, answering the state prosecutor's question about whether videos from surveillance cameras had previously ended up on social networks, said no.

Such an outcome may have seemed realistic to Bishimbayev, considering his social status. He did indeed refuse to provide the investigating authorities with the password to his mobile. He said that some "opera" would see videos with him and Saltanat in which they "as husband and wife" are having fun and sell them to Telegram channels.

Bakhytzhan Baizhanov later explained how and why Saltanat Nukenova's phone was taken for a ride around the city. 

When I went up to the second floor, he (Bishimbayev) was outside, he had Saltanat's phone in his hand. He told me to take the phone to the Fitness Palace and come back,the defendant said. 

Bishimbayev's relative did as he was told, but on the way back to the restaurant he received new instructions and delivered Saltanat's phone to the apartment, where she lived with Kuandyk.

Kuandyk Bishimbayev had previously claimed that he was not trying to create an alibi, he just asked to find Saltanat's phone and take it home because that was how he had "cared" for her.

Baizhanov's version contradicted this. According to him, Bishimbayev asked to take Saltanat's phone around the city because "Aitym", i.e. Saltanat Nukenova's brother, tracked the phone's geolocation.

The questioning would later reveal another moment: On the day of Nukenova's death, Bishimbayev was more concerned about Saltanat Nukenova's previous relationship than her fatal injuries. 

You said that on that day (November 9 - Ed.) you ordered food and ate with Kuandyk Bishimbayev. Were you talking about Saltanat at that moment?  asked Judge Aizhan Kulbayeva.

Baizhanov confirmed that he had asked why the couple quarreled so often. Earlier, during the questioning, he stated that he often noticed Kuandyk Bishimbayev and Saltanat Nukenova's conflicts, saw bruises on her, and also had to seek repairmen and furniture makers' services for their apartment after such conflicts.

I asked why they fight so much. He (Bishimbayev) said that before the wedding, Saltanat had a relationship with a man he knew. And he couldn't get it out of his head. He said that they were fighting because of this,
 Bakhytzhan Baizhanov added.

At the same time, Bishimbayev did not say a word about Saltanat's condition, her injuries, swollen face with bruises, and whether she was sleeping or lying unconscious.

Under Pressure

Speaking about his relationship with Bishimbayev, and the events of November 9, 2023, the subsequent detention and investigation, Bakhytzhan Baizhanov again stated that Kuandyk intimidated him and exerted pressure.

Bishimbayev supposedly tried to force Baizhanov to give convenient testimony. 

Bishimbayev told me to say that we called and phoned for an ambulance together. He said: 'If you don't say that, I will curse you and your children so that something like this happens to you too', the defendant shared.

Bishimbayev's lawyer Nazken Kusainova reacted swiftly, demanding the audio and video recordings of court sessions to find this conversation. 

But Baizhanov said that this particular conversation took place when they were together in the courthouse holding structure for defendants.

But you can listen to the recordings, watch the video, see the paper he gave me. We met periodically in the detention center, Bishimbayev told me to say that when he brought Saltanat sal ammoniac (aromatic ammonia spirit/smelling salts that Bishimbayev had spoken about - Ed.), I was standing next to him. Although I stayed outside at the time, the defendant clarified.

When Bakhytzhan Baizhanov continued speaking about the day of Saltanat's death, he explained in detail how Bishimbayev did not let him call an ambulance, although the woman was breathing heavily and looked unwell. 

Then Baizhanov secretly called a doctor he knew. 

The first time I called Yersultan was at 15.30, then he called me back. And then after seven o'clock, when they said that Saltanat had no pulse, I called Yersultan again two or three times. He said he couldn't get there himself. That I could call an ambulance or there is a private ambulance for 40 thousand tenge, and he can direct them,
 the defendant explained.

Bakhytzhan Baizhanov suggested they call an ambulance, but Bishimbayev said: "Saltanat is asleep, let's wait." 

He was talking to Gulnur at that moment. This is the clairvoyant or fortune teller. Yes, I had the opportunity to call for help. But Bishimbayev said she was asleep. And Gulnur (the clairvoyant) claimed that Saltanat was asleep. Believing them, I did not call an ambulance. There was a man 10 years older than me standing next to me, who trusted her (the fortune teller), maybe that's why I did too, Baizhanov explained.

Nukenova's cousins would later question Baizhanov's testimony, highlighting the lack of sincerity.

Kuandyk Bishimbayev has been charged with the following:

  • Paragraph 5, part 2 of Article 99 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan ("Homicide with Extreme Cruelty")
  • Paragraph 1, part 2 of Article 110 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan ("Torture")

Bakhytzhan Baizhanov has been charged with the following:

  • Article 432 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan ("Concealment")
  • Article 434 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan ("Failure to Report a Crime")

Saltanat Nukenova was killed on the night of November 8-9, 2023 in the BAU restaurant on the second floor of the "GastroCenter" in Astana. Former Minister of National Economy Kuandyk Bishimbayev was detained on the same day. 

Preliminary hearings on the case began in the Specialized Interdistrict Criminal Court of Astana on March 11, 2024. Kuandyk Bishimbayev and his lawyers insisted on a trial by jury, the court granted their request. The main trial with the participation of jurors started on March 27, 2024. will continue to follow developments

Original Author: Anastasia Prilepskaya

DISCLAIMER: This is a translated piece. The text has been modified, the content is the same. Please refer to the original piece in Russian for accuracy. The text has been updated to reflect the current situation as of 12/04/2024. 

Latest news

view all