Kazakhstan's ex-Minister of National Economy sentenced for being his wife for ten hours

in Kazakhstan, former minister changes country's laws after beating wife for 10 hours

Kazakhstan's ex-Minister of National Economy Kuandyk Bishimbayev, who was accused of killing his common-law wife Saltanat Nukenova, was sentenced to 24 years in prison. The court agreed with the verdict of the jury, who found that his actions were a deliberate torture of the woman.

A video of Saltanat being abused, which the ex-official filmed on his phone, but forgot to delete it, became a key evidence in the trial.

Bishimbayev's relative, Bakhytzhan Baizhanov, owner of BAU restaurant where the crime occurred, was sentenced to four years in prison.

The case against the former official received an extensive coverage both inside and outside Kazakhstan. The authorities of Kazakhstan were forced to toughen penalties for domestic violence and criminalised beatings against the background of Kuandyk Bishimbayev's trial.

Bishimbayev was beating his wife for 10 hours

Bishimbayev was detained on November 9, 2023. The day before, after a quarrel, the ex-minister beat his wife, after which she lost consciousness and never came to her senses again. During the trial, prosecutor Aizhan Aimaganova noted that the accused committed the crime with particular cruelty as he was beating Nukenova for many hours until the morning.

"The murder of Saltanat was carried out with particular cruelty. Bishimbayev showed sadism. He was torturing the woman for more than ten hours and mocking her, inflicting numerous bodily injuries and morally humiliating the person," prosecutor Aizhan Aimaganova said.

Three different individuals called an ambulance for the woman repeatedly. Bishimbayev called for help several hours after his wife stopped breathing. While Saltanat was laying beaten and unconscious in the VIP booth of BAU restaurant, her husband was dining with his brother and another woman in the same room.

After committing the crime, Bishimbayev tried to destroy the evidence. At his request, the owner of BAU restaurant dismissed the staff and deleted recordings from surveillance cameras. The ex-minister also asked a relative to take his wife's phone to his home, since he knew that her brother Aitbek Amangeldy was tracking her geolocation.

Baizhanov found that Nukenova was not breathing only a few hours after she died. Forensic expert Takhir Halimnazarov said that ER doctors could not have helped the woman.

During the trial, the former minister also said that Nukenova left him several times, but always returned. Bishimbayev also said that she never asked him to stop the beatings.

"If there had been torture, she would have noted it herself in her correspondence with me. She never complained, she never said: "Please stop torturing me or beating me," Kuandyk Bishimbayev, ex-Minister of Economy of Kazakhstan said during the trial.

Kazakhstan criminalises domestic violence laws

After Bishimbayev's case received public attention in Kazakhstan and beyond, the authorities of the republic decided to tighten penalties for domestic violence. A few days after the incident, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the republic reported a multiple increase in the number of arrests for domestic violence in the country.

In April 2024, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed a law criminalising domestic violence. According to amendments to the legislation, articles on beatings and intentional infliction of minor bodily harm will be transferred to the Criminal Code. Kazakhstan also plans to create family support centres to help victims of violence. The new law also introduces a life sentence for sexual assault of minors and criminalises molestation of persons under 16 years of age.

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Author`s name Angela Antonova
Editor Dmitry Sudakov