Kazakh authorities have arrested the country’s former defense minister, Murat Bektanov, who is suspected of failing to take the necessary measures during the January events, according to the country’s supervisory body.
“The Office of the Public Prosecutor launched an investigation pursuant to Article 452 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan regarding the fact that he did not take any action with former Defense Minister Bektanov Murat Karibayevic during his tenure,” the statement said.
Bektanov was arrested yesterday as a result of the investigations carried out by the prosecutor’s office.
According to the legislation, in accordance with the “Inaction of Powers” article, an officer’s failure to fulfill his official duties is punished with imprisonment from four to eight years in case of serious consequences.
Kazakhstan’s presidency also announced last Monday that the National Security Agency is investigating 15 criminal cases filed on charges of treason and attempting to seize power.
On January 11, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev agreed to form a new government, and Katanov retained his position in this government, but was replaced by Burslan Zaksilikov on January 19. Commenting on this decision, the head of state explained that due to extreme uncertainty and lack of initiative leadership, the army did not fulfill its duties during the January events and that Minister Bektanov did not show leadership qualities.
Earlier last month, protests against rising gas prices in two cities in northwestern Kazakhstan escalated into a widespread unrest that spread to several cities in the country, interspersed with riots and violence. The President declared the coup attempt and went to the leadership of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan) with a request for help. The organization dispatched peacekeepers to Kazakhstan, which helped stabilize the situation in the country by January 7, before authorities announced the lifting of the state of emergency for all regions of Kazakhstan on January 19.
According to local authorities, these events left 225 dead and more than 4.5 thousand injured.
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