Friday, May 25, 2012 -
The former mayor of the Kazakh oil city which witnessed violence between police and strikers in December is now on trial, media sources reported Friday.
Oraq Sarbopeev is standing trial in the regional capital Aktau, after being charged with embezzling funds originally destined for oil workers’ social funds, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported. Sarbopeev is also facing charges of bribery.
Kazakh authorities are keen to appear as if they are tackling the underlying issues which led to the violence on December 16, when police officers allegedly fired on crowds and killed at least 16 protesters.
In an earlier trial, six protesters were found guilty of participating in the riot, and will serve sentences ranging from no time in prison to seven years.
However, the son-in-law of long-term President Nursultan Nazarbayev was sacked from his position as head of Samruk-Kazyna, which manages state firms and controls an estimated third of the Kazakh economy, for failing to head off the labor crisis before it reached its violent end.