Kazakhstan Investigates 91 Terrorism-Related Cases In January Deadly Protests

The government of Kazakhstan on Tuesday said they are investigating 46 terrorism-related cases and 45 cases of mass riots associated with the deadly protests across the Central Asia country in early January that resulted in the death and injuries of hundreds of demonstrators, including law enforcement forces.

Yeldos Kilimzhanov, Kazakhstan’s Deputy Head of the First Service of the Prosecutor General’s Office in a briefing at the Central Communications Center, said that 128 suspects were released from custody considering his/her role in the crime during the march.

Another 469 people who were involved in different crimes during the protests are being held in custody and they are under investigation, Kilimzhanov added.

“We are regularly checking their conditions inside the prison,” Kilimzhanov said, adding measures would be taken to address problems in case they are facing inside the detention center. Kilimzhanov said that the Ombudsperson for Human Rights and her representatives also visited the pre-trial detention centers, stressing they are against torture.

Kilimzhanov said that the detained people were involved in deliberate destructive activities like attacking buildings of government agencies and committing riots in the regions, blocking roads, and railways.

“These detainees also prevented the arrival of additional law enforcement forces in the site of the protests to prevent it from becoming violent,” Kilimzhanov added.

Kilimzhanov said that there were 2,729 criminal cases which include 1,844 robbery cases, 343 illegal arms trafficking, 144 cases of intentional damage or destruction of property, while more than 1,500 individuals and legal entities have become victims of the violent demonstrators, 

Kazakhstan Head of the Investigative Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Sanjar Adilov said the police forces are searching for stolen properties. “We have found and seized so far worth $280,000 of stolen items,” Adilov said, adding some 1,006 units of firearms and 20,307 units of ammunition have also been seized by the security forces.

On 2 January, protests began peacefully in Zhanaozen city over a sudden sharp increase in liquefied gas prices that later spread to other cities across Kazakhstan, especially in Almaty, the largest city. The demonstrations had immediately turned violent in which 227 people were killed and over 9,000 others were arrested during week-long violent unrest.

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