Final verdict coming in Saltanat Nukenova’s murder as trial nears its end

Kuandyk Bishimbayev's trial Photo credit: Diana Bizhanova/Kazinform

The high-profile trial of former economy minister, Kuandyk Bishimbayev, continues in Astana. Bishimbayev is accused of murdering his wife on November 9 in “BAU” restaurant, which he owned. The trial has moved to the stage of judicial debates, Kazinform News Agency correspondent reports from the courtroom on what each of the sides presented.

First part of the judicial debates started on May 2 with the prosecution presenting their arguments first. Prosecutor Aizhan Aimaganova demonstrated the amount of blood from hematoma due to traumatic brain injury that was found during the autopsy of Saltanat Nukenova, which was conducted to be triple the lethal amount. She also noted that the accused “lies masterfully, skillfully avoids awkward questions, trying not to make mistakes.” Aimaganova highlighted that Bishimbayev’s biggest mistake was forgetting about the videos he filmed during the day of the crime. The videos weren’t revealed to the public due to their violent nature.

Victims' lawyer Zhanna Urazbakhova (Mukhamadi) reminded the jury of the difference between causing death by negligence or accident and intentional murder. She also highlighted that “In my opinion, the guilt of Bishimbayev and Baizhanov has been fully proven. If they now receive a lenient punishment, then any of us could end up in Saltanat’s place.”

Igor Vranchev, lawyer of the victim, stated that Bishimbayev has violent inclinations: “This is his upbringing, he came to this not on November 9, not on November 8, he lived with this all his life". Supporting this claim is a statement by his colleague, Damir Ishmametov, who in the video from the accused’s phone, counted Bishimbayev saying the same sentence accusing his wife of having an affair prior to their marriage more than 175 times over 20 minutes.

Defense lawyers presented their arguments starting from Leila Ramazanova, whose statement revolved around indication that the victim could also be blamed for infliction of emotional harm and overestimating her physical abilities on the night of the crime. She also stated, “Kuandyk is not guilty of torture...Why should Kuandyk be present for this? 30 years ago Kuandyk was 10 years old. After all, if Kuandyk is punished, will all the problems of our society be resolved? Here we are not even defending Kuandyk, the law. Any unbalanced emotional person could be in his place,” addressing the accusations of torture.

Kuandyk Bishimbayev's trial Photo credit: Diana Baizhanova/Kazinform

Nazken Kusainova, lead defense lawyer of Bishimbayev, stated that the defendant had already confessed to everything that he had done, but neither he, nor Saltanat knew that day that she would die: going out to the concert in the evening as a happy couple, their petty quarrel grew into something that Bishimbayev did not expect and did not want.

Bishimbayev’s lawyer presented the results of examinations again, suggesting that the wounds and injuries were not connected to the cause of death. Also, she highlighted that there was no motive, otherwise he wouldn’t ask for the jury and to film the court proceedings.

According to the defense lawyer, Erlan Gazymzhanov, Bishimbayev should be judged for only the things he did without implementation of “brutal murder” to the crimes. The reason being is that the murder was not particularly cruel, because “there were no cut off body parts or a broken skull, there was no knocked out eye, there wasn’t even a knocked out tooth.”

Mother of Kuandyk Bishimbayev addresses court and jury Photo credit: Diana Bizhanova/Kazinform

Mother of Kuandyk Bishimbayev has addressed the court and jury for the first time since the beginning of the court proceedings. She expressed her apologies to Saltanat’s family and shared her truth.

Saltanat’s brother, Aitbek Amangeldy, in his speech addressed the issue of informational pressure their family has been facing since the day of the murder, dealing with the attacks on Saltanat’s dignity and their family as a whole. He also announced the launch of “Saltanat foundation”.

In a interview with Kazinform News Agency correspondent, Aitbek told more about the foundation and future plans:

“First of all, it (the foundation) will ensure the full functioning of the volunteer network, because in the volunteer network, despite the fact that we all work there for free, it takes up full time of the coordinators. That is, they no longer suffer from the point of view, that is, they do not sacrifice personal interest for the sake of this work. I would like them to just start working on the project. Additionally, we really want to open a hotline that will work 24/7 (for victims of violence). (...) Additionally, in addition to this, look, there is legislative work, in which we talked a lot about the ‘Saltanat law’ and the current amendments. That is, the current amendments are only the first part of everything that needs to be done. The next stage we now want to work on is the issues of stalking, of persecution, which are very necessary, and these norms, in fact, will prevent many beatings, beatings, rapes and murders. (…) The Foundation does not collect any funds from anyone. That is, we do not need this. We want to invest all our family’s investments there, plus collaborate on projects with various large organizations who will volunteer and want to help in this matter.”

Regarding the words of Bishimbayev’s defense during the judicial debates, Aitbek limited himself to a short statement: “It’s funny, it’s just nonsense.”

The trial continues with only a few steps left before the final verdict: ending of the first stage of judicial debates, during which the accused will be presenting their arguments, and the second stage, which will be held without the jury.

Kuandyk Dishimbayev
Photo credit: Diana Bizhanova/Kazinform


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