On February 11, 2006, in Almaty, Altynbek Sarsenbayuly, Vassiliy Zhuravlyov and Baurzhan Baibosyn were kidnapped and murdered.
During the investigation, law enforcement agencies identified Rustam Ibragimov and nine other individuals as those responsible for these crimes.
As the investigation progressed, Rustam Ibragimov named Yerzhan Utembayev, who was the chief of the Head-Office of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan at the time, as the individual who hired him to murder Altynbek Sarsenbayuly.
On August 31, 2006, all individuals identified during the investigation were sentenced to long terms by Almaty Oblast Court. Ibragimov, the direct organizer and executor, was sentenced to the capital punishment, a sentence that was later replaced by life imprisonment.
However, on April 16, 2012, Ibragimov, who is serving his sentence in prison, filed a petition to the Supreme Court in which he provided circumstances of the crime that were previously unknown to law enforcement and judicial authorities.
In that statement, the first time he confessed of the murder, Ibragimov described, in detail, the circumstances of its commission. He also stated that the true hirers of the kidnapping and murder of Altynbek Sarsenbayuly were Rakhat Aliev and Alnur Musayev, not Yerzhan Utembayev.
By the order of the Supreme Court, the accuracy of his testimony was further verified by the specially created operational investigative team, which included representatives of the Prosecutor General’s Office, Committee for National Security and Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
At the same time, and at the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation was directly involved in the investigation.
Based on the investigation results, the newly discovered evidence provided by Ibragimov has been proved true.
It was found that in 2006, after the completion of polygraph research and interview with the U.S. FBI Agents, Rustam Ibragimov said the true hirer of the murder was Rakhat Aliev. However, Ibragimov refused to give official testimony to the law enforcement bodies and asked not to disclose this information because of fear for his family’s safety from Aliev and Musayev.
In the process of investigating Rustam Ibragimov’s statement, the U.S. FBI has confirmed the new information and provided the relevant documents.
During the reinvestigation, Ibragimov testified that Yerzhan Utembayev asked him to beat Altynbek Sarsenbayuly because of personal aversions. Rakhat Aliev found out about it and, together with Alnur Musayev, decided to exploit the situation and instructed Ibragimov to carry out the murder of Altynbek Sarsenbayuly, using Yerzhan Utembayev’s request as a cover.
Rustam Ibragimov’s explanation was fully confirmed by objective evidence collected during the reinvestigation. New evidence and testimony have confirmed the involvement of Rakhat Aliev and Alnur Musayev in the ordering and arranging of the murder of Altynbek Sarsenbayuly and his two companions.
In August 2013, the testimony of Rustam Ibragimov and several key witnesses were verified for accuracy and confirmed by specially invited FBI polygraph examiners.
As such, on December 11, 2013, the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Kazakhstan directed to the Supreme Court its request for the partial reconsideration of the verdict in the murder of Altynbek Sarsenbayuly, Vassiliy Zhuravlev and Baurzhan Baibosyn.
On December 19, 2013, the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan, based on the Rustam Ibragimov’s statement and with account of new materials, partially cancelled the previous verdict with respect to Yerzhan Utembayev.
The grounds for a retrial with regards to other participants of the crime have not been established, because the new evidence did not affect qualification of their action.
Also on December 19, the Supreme Court submitted the criminal case for a new trial in the Special Criminal Interdistrict Court for Almaty oblast.
In case of appropriate the court’s decision, a criminal case on Rakhat Aliev and Alnur Musayev will be initiated and preliminary investigation will be conducted with participation of FBI agents to determine the involvement of Rakhat Aliev and Alnur Musayev in the murders of Altynbek Sarsenbayuly, Vasiliy Zhuravlyov and Baurzhan Baybosyn.
The results of these legal proceedings will be announced.