Prosecutors in Kazakhstan charge president’s estranged son-in-law with murder of bankers

June 16. The Associated Press. ASTANA

Prosecutors in Kazakhstan charge president's estranged son-in-law with murder of bankersThe estranged former son-in-law of Kazakhstan’s president was charged with murdering two bankers, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Rakhat Aliyev was sentenced in absentia to 40 years in jail in 2008 on charges including attempting to overthrow the government. Aliyev has managed to defy demands for his extradition from Austria by arguing that he would be denied a fair trial in his home country.

General Prosecutor Askhat Daulbayev said Aliyev will now face a new trial. He has already been convicted on charges of kidnapping the two bankers, who authorities say were abducted in early 2007 after becoming embroiled in a commercial dispute with Aliyev.

Observers suggest that President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s determination to seek the jailing of Aliyev is largely motivated by personal enmity. Aliyev, a former Kazakh deputy foreign minister, was dismissed as ambassador to Austria in 2007 after he accused Nazarbayev of practicing Soviet-style totalitarianism.

Aliyev has always maintained his innocence and described the accusations against him as being part of a state-organized plot.

Kazakhstan hopes the prospect of a new criminal prosecution could persuade the Austrian authorities to relent and hand over Aliyev and his accomplices.

“The Austrian authorities have no grounds for not giving us these criminals, so that justice may prevail,” Nazarbayev said.