Serik Akhmetov’s Strange Request

The request of former Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Serik Akhmetov who had appealed to the Kazybekbiysk District Court #1 of the Karaganda city to replace his restriction of liberty sentence with early release on parole was denied almost instantaneously. And now there are certain questions we would like to pose regarding this matter. And not only about the court’s verdict. 

Let us start with why the request was denied.

By the looks of it, the former head of the government has become a victim of the circumstances: too many notable officials and siloviki sentenced for bribery, abuse of authority and embezzlement of the budget funds have been released from prison in recent months. Perhaps Akorda and «the Library» have decided to slow this process down especially since, as oppose to his imprisoned colleagues, Serik Akhmetov has long been out of jail.

However, in this case, we are not surprised by the fact why Akhmetov suddenly decided to ease his sentence since he has every right to do so. What we find interesting is that he asked to replace restriction of liberty with early release on parole and lift the ban on occupying state service positions.

The thing is that, from the practical standpoint, today’s status of Serik Akhmetov does not differ from that of someone released on parole. However, if he commits some actions, misdemeanors or crimes that, as a result, will put him back to prison, he will have more advantages in comparison with his «colleagues» released on parole. In particular, according to Part 3 of this Article of the Kazakh Criminal Code (quoting):

«3. In the case of willful evasion of serving the restriction of liberty sentence, its unexpired term is replaced with deprivation of liberty on the basis of one day of liberty deprivation for one day of liberty restriction».

Whereas Article 72 of the Kazakh Criminal Code «Early Release on Parole» says the following (quoting individual paragraphs):

«2. The person released on parole is to be put on probation according to the rules of Part 2 Article 44 of the Criminal Code. When released on parole, the person is also charged with the duties stipulated by the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan».

«7. If, during the unexpired term, the person released on parole commits:

1) two or more administrative violations for which penalties have been imposed or avoids, without acceptable reason, carrying out the duties he has been charged with as part of the early release conditions, or, without acceptable reason, does not report for the registration at the chosen place of residence during five working days after the release, the court may annul the early release status and make the person serve the unexpired term in prison».

In other words, the convict that returns to the penal colony from the «restriction of liberty» regime will spend behind bars just as much time as he still has to serve since each day spent out of prison will be counted. Whereas the convict that has been released on parole does not have this advantage and will have to serve the entire term while the time spent on parole will not be counted.

As for lifting of the ban on occupying state service positions, this seems to be an even more fantastical idea. Obviously, no one is expecting Serik Akhmetov there.

It is hard to explain the reasons for this kind of activity of the part of the ex-Prime Minister (who, by the way, is today’s NSC Chief Karim Masimov’s successor and, at the same time, predecessor at this post). Most likely, he has had serious reasons for this activity, however, we do not yet know what they are.

One last thing. Judging by the fact that Serik Akhmetov appealed to Kazybekbiysk District Court #1 of the Karaganda city with the request to replace his restriction of liberty sentence with early release on parole, he himself, his relatives and allies were hoping for the positive solution of the problem. Whereas the local legal authorities were not up to speed on the matter and hence decided to take a timeout in order to understand what was happening and what verdict they were waiting for at the top.

Judging by the harsh position of the prosecutor who said verbatim (quoting) that «…convict Akhmetov Serik Nygmetovich has not yet mended his way», «the evidence that Akhmetov needs not to serve his sentence further has not been presented» and «the arguments that he has paid the damage he caused, that he is employed and has a good record cannot serve as a good and sufficient reason for his release», those at the top have decided for the request to be denied.

The question remains — for how long will Akorda and «the Library» continue to be so hard on Serik Akhmetov?


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