Recusal Request, Nazarbayev's Nephew, and Internet Problems: Airport Seizure Case Appeal

cover Photo: Silam Aqbota

On September 26, the Almaty City Court considered an appeal in the case of the seizure of the airport during the January Events. The defendants’ lawyers shared new details and requested the recusal of the city court’s composition.

The verdict against the five defendants was handed down on July 11. The defendants received from four to eight years in prison. Lawyers, human rights defenders and civil activists disagree with the court's decision. As it turned out, the prosecutor's office did too.

Question Ruslan Iskakov

During the the Court of Appeal’s hearing, lawyer Aigerim Tleuzhanova Vasily Sadykov petitioned for the resuming the investigation into the airport's seizure . According to him, new circumstances have emerged that will shed light on the complicated case. They turned out to be statements made by the ex-head of the fifth department of the KNB, Ruslan Iskakov, at the trial in the case of Wild Arman.

The statement of the ex-head of the DNKB about Samat Abish is directly related to the case of the seizure of the airport. The proceedings conducted by the court of first instance are incomplete. It is necessary to piece everything together with the statement of Ruslan Iskakov. And also to specify and conduct a trial, with the resumption of the investigation to make a fair decision. We demand to question Iskakov during the proceedings on the statements he made in court,Sadykov said.
Ruslan Iskakov on court 18 Sep / Photo:

The former head of the 5th department of the KNB, accused of patronizing Wild Arman and organizing mass riots, claimed that Samat Abish, the former KNB deputy chairman and Nursultan Nazarbayev’s nephew, gave him  orders during Qantar.

The day after Iskakov's statement, on September 19, the Prosecutor General's Office launched an investigation against Samat Abish on the fact of abuse of power during the January Events.

The defense supported the lawyer's petition, the state prosecution, however, did not. The judge also said that a decision on this petition will be made on October 3.

Lack of Trust

At the beginning of the court session, the chairman of the Judicial Board for Criminal Cases, Yerzhan Dauliyev, posed the question to all the participants: "Do you trust the court?".

The State prosecutors said yes, while those convicted and their lawyers did not. They believe that the court is supposedly capable of making a biased decision.

Screen of the online hearing

Aigerim Tleuzhanova’s lawyer, Ainara Aidarkhanova, therefore put forth the request to recuse the entire composition of the Almaty city court.

On the day of the verdict announcement on July 11, 2023, a video explanation of the verdict was published on the official page of the Almaty City Court. During his speech, press secretary Abay Zharylkasyn, even before the court decision, declared Aigerim Tleuzhanova the organizer of mass riots. Thus, we believe that the Almaty City Court expressed a biased opinion on the verdict, which had not yet entered into force, violating the presumption of innocence. I declare a recusal to the entire composition of the Almaty City Court, with the transfer of this case to an equivalent court in another region, the lawyer said.
Aigerim Tleuzhanova at the trial / Online session screen

The subsequent petition, which the defense has been declaring since August, was the holding of the trial offline. The other day's trial started almost an hour later than the scheduled time because of communication problems.

Due to the poor quality of communication and the Internet, the defendants' rights to be heard and defend themselves are being violated. Moreover, as you can see, the technical support of the court turns off the lawyers’ sound. I can't make my statement. This is my right as a defense lawyer and it is being violated,  said Abzal Aidarkhanov, Kalas Nurpeisov's lawyer.
Kalas Nurpeisov, Nurlan Dalibayev, Ermukhamet Shilibayev and Zhanaidar Karmenov in court / Online session screen

The Judicial Board, having listened to the above-mentioned petitions, refused to satisfy them.

The process will continue in the same composition. The defense side did not provide sufficient arguments to recuse the composition of the city court, said Yerzhan Dauliyev, chairman of the Judicial Board for Criminal Cases.

About conducting further proceedings in offline mode, Dauliev said:

The procedural right to be heard and to speak, to defend their rights is provided to each of the participants of the hearings. Therefore, we reject the petition.

"Change of Heart”

It turned out that not only the defenders, but also the state prosecution did not agree with the verdict. At the meeting, Prosecutor Bekzat Seytimbet read out his petition. The prosecutor's office has requested to increase the damage allegedly caused by those convicted.

We request you to indicate the damages caused in the descriptive part of the sentence:
JSC "Almaty International Airport" - 314 million tenge, AO "Air Astana" - 5 million tenge, JSC "SCAT" - 1 million tenge, as well as 42 business entities – 414 million, and to resolve the issue of their compensation from the convicted.

Seytimbet also added a request to leave the rest of the sentence unchanged.

Prosecutor Bekzat Seytimbet at the trial / Online session Screen

The hearings ended on September 26 after the defendants in the detention center were disconnected. The judge explained that in this strategic facility, those convicted had been given the opportunity to join only by 18.00. The continuation of the trial was postponed to October 3. will continue to cover it.

RMB: The consideration of the appeal was to begin on September 19.
Yet, lawyers, relatives of those convicted, and media representatives were not allowed into the city court’s building. 
The court explained that the meeting should be held online. Lawyers, on the other hand, have repeatedly demanded an open trial. The city Court later accused the lawyers of disrupting the process and issued a private administrative ruling.

What were the defendants accused of?

Aigerim Tleuzhanova, a civil activist, was sentenced by the court to four years in prison. She was found guilty of organizing mass riots.

Kalas Nurpeisov, a civil activist, was sentenced to eight years. He is accused of attacking a building, organizing mass riots, illegally taking possession of a car with violence, and robbery.

Nurlan Dalibayev received a sentence of eight years. The court found him guilty of participating in mass riots, attacking the airport building and illegally taking possession of a car by a group of persons by prior conspiracy with the use of violence.

The court also found Ermukhamet Shilibayev and Zhanaidar Karmenov guilty of participating in mass riots and attacking the airport building, giving them a sentence of eight years in prison.

The court found that on January 5, 2022, Tleuzhanova and Nurpeisov organized mass riots at the Almaty airport, accompanied by riots, arson and destruction of property. At the airport, they were joined by Dalibayev, Shilibayev and Karmenov. Lawyers and human rights activists disagree with the verdict.

Original Author: Silam Aqbota

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.

Latest news

view all