Kazakhstan arrests ex-interior minister in connection with unrest that left 238 dead

Authorities in Kazakhstan have arrested a former interior minister in connection with deadly unrest that gripped the country in 2022, Kazakh news media reported Tuesday

Via AP news wire
Tuesday 30 April 2024 11:21 BST
Kazakhstan Unrest
Kazakhstan Unrest (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Authorities in Kazakhstan arrested a former interior minister on Tuesday, in connection with deadly police crackdown on unrest that gripped the country in 2022, Kazakh news media reported.

The Prosecutor General's Office announced on Monday that Erlan Turgumbayev was detained on charges of “abuse of power and official authority resulting in grave consequences” in the harsh crackdown of riots by the police. Kazakhstan's Ministry of Internal Affairs is in charge of the nation's police force.

The unrest started in the city of Zhanaozen on Jan. 2, 2022, when residents protested a sharp increase in the cost of liquefied petroleum gas, commonly used as fuel for vehicles in Kazakhstan.

Those protests evolved into criticisms of corruption, economic inequality against former leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, whose critics say have been profiting off the country's vast energy wealth ever since assuming office in 1991.

Nazarbayez resigned from the presidency in 2019 but still held substantial power at the time of the protests as head of the Kazakhstan's security council.

In Almaty, the country's largest city, protests turned violent and President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev issued shoot-to-kill orders as demonstrators stormed government buildings. Officials said 238 people were killed in the unrest.

Tokayev then pushed an array of reforms, including limiting the presidency to a single seven-year term. He also removed Nazarbayev as head of the security council and the capital city, which had been named Nur-Sultan in Nazarbayev's honor, reverted to its former name of Astana.

Turgumbayev was relieved of duty a month after the unrest.

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