How Is Abilbekov Connected to Cases of Wild Arman and Vikram Ruzakhunov?


The other day, the Prosecutor General's Office reported on the detention of the Almaty PD's former deputy head, Berik Abilbekov. This detention is connected with the case of Kyrgyz jazzman Vikram Ruzakhunov. Ruzakhunov was tortured during Qantar. Abilbekov may appear in another criminal case involving Wild Arman. Orda has looked into what the former high-ranking law enforcement officer has to do with these cases.

On Camera

On January 9, 2022, a video emerged on the social networks of Kazakhstani media with a man confessing that he was a foreigner hired for money to participate in riots. At the same time, the man's face had signs of being battered.

Photo: screenshot from video

On the same day, residents of Kyrgyzstan recognized the man as famous jazzman Vikram Ruzakhunov. The musician was later released. Having arrived home the next day, he stated he was forced to incriminate himself after being detained at the border of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic. Ruzakhunov had bruises, a concussion, broken ribs, and even a torn lung

A month later, Ruzakhunov explained what happened to him: beatings with chains, rifle butts, sticks, and being forced to admit guilt: 

“Я не могу вернуться к музыке и бизнесу и делать вид, что ничего не произошло. Я решил, что моя ситуация должна помочь в улучшении человеческих прав, и поэтому я намерен добиваться справедливости”, сказал Викрам. Я буду помогать Викраму в этом деле, и я надеюсь наши государственные органы помогут нам добиться справедливости от казахского правосудия. Видео подготовлено Intelligent Production Жакен Чотой

Posted by Nurbek Akbar on Sunday, February 13, 2022
After another beating, we, five Kyrgyz citizens, were put in front of a video camera and told: "We need one person who admits his guilt." They immediately took me to another cell and said, "Either you say what you need to say now, or we will continue to beat you, and we will not stop." They promised to deport me on a plane home. I agreed. They told me the lines, I learned them, Vikram said at the time.

This all happened in a special detention center in the village of Koshmambet in the Almaty region. The press release of the Prosecutor General's Office states that Abilbekov was detained over a torture case involving the village. Ruzakhunov's surname is not in the release, but the location nonetheless suggests the detention is connected with the musician's case. His lawyer, Rena Kerimova, also points this out. 

The former Almaty PD deputy head is not the first law enforcement officer to be detained in Ruzakhunov's case. The jazzman wrote on his social networks that four police officers had been arrested during the investigation. Abilbekov became the fifth. 

Vikram Ruzakhunov in Qonayev. April 2024. Photo: Instagram of Vikram Ruzakhunov

Kerimova believes the musician will be invited to Kazakhstan to identify Abilbekov. He has already done so with other suspects. Incidentally, the former Almaty DP deputy head is the highest-ranking among those detained in Ruzakhunov's case. 

If it is impossible to identify directly those who tortured, then the heads should be responsible for this. Maybe not for the torture itself, but for the ineffectiveness of the investigation, for the fact that they gave such orders, for the fact that this happens in subordinate institutions, says Yevgeny Zhovtis, director of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights.

Rena Kerimova, however, says Vikram Ruzakhunov wants to bring the matter to closure and punish all those who were involved in the torture in Koshmambet. 

Vikram is determined! He's not going to forgive or forget anyone. He is ready to see the process through so that all those responsible are brought to justice. They are also now looking for the (camera - Ed.) operator, they are looking for the writer who prepared all this, Rena Kerimova said.

Abilbekov is unlikely to have written Ruzakhunov's lines. But if it turns out he was involved in torture and staged filming, then it is safe to say he bears responsibility. 

Another Case

The detention of the criminal authority Arman Dzhumageldiyev — Wild Arman also calls into question Berik Abilbekov's actions during Qantar

Arman Dzhumageldiyev.

Wild Arman and his companions were detained at the Ritz Carlton Hotel on January 7. They reportedly resisted. And photos of Dzhumageldiyev, sitting in the hotel corridor with his hands behind his back, made the rounds on The Internet. 

The hotel's surveillance cameras caught how law enforcement officers first walk down the corridor, then Wild Arman and his companions exit. However, a man in camouflage with a gun blocks their way. Arman and the others drop to their knees. Other law enforcement officers enter, and they all start assaulting them. Below is the redacted footage, but in the full 2-hour-plus video, the officers periodically kick the men.

Last year, this video became the reason for the initiation of a criminal case on torture. Wild Arman is the injured party in it. Other questions remain, however. 

The video often shows a man in civilian clothes — a black jacket and a baseball cap. This is Berik Abilbekov. The camera captured two interesting moments.

When the time in the upper left corner shows 13:53:51, Abilbekov has a firearm. At 13:54:51, he puts it next to Wild Arman. Where Abilbekov got the weapon from is not clear. 

Arman's lawyer, Rena Kerimova, notes the reason for the detention of her client was the illegal possession of weapons. 

Abilbekov is frequently on the phone. He lowers the phone for mere seconds; then he is on it again. And several times, he leans toward Wild Arman with the phone. Dzhumageldiev, having told this to his lawyer, recalls that Abilbekov told him:

Turgumbayev sends a message — take the weapon.

Yerlan Turgumbayev was the head of the Interior Ministry at that time. On April 29 of this year, he was detained. Other regional police department heads, such as the Jambyl region, also had telephone conversations with "someone" during Qantar. 

Arman Dzhumagildiyev claims to have bought the video for 50 thousand dollars. Rena Kerimova, meanwhile, believes the video and Abilbekov's detention cannot but affect the course of Arman's case.

However,  Abilbekov has thus far been detained for Ruzakhunov's case.

Experts see Abilbekov's detention as a plus for other cases related to Qantar. 

"Perhaps the positive effect will be that The Prosecutor's Office and higher authorities will take over the Qantar cases that have not yet been completed,
 said Maxim Kudryavtsev, a lawyer for KMBH and the Coalition of NGOs of Kazakhstan against Torture.

And there are many.

Original Author: Igor Ulitin

DISCLAIMER: This is a translated piece. The text has been modified, the content is the same. Please refer to the original article in Russian for accuracy.