Kazakhstan court jails 13 over Zhanaozen riots

Defendants in court during the riot case, June 4 2012 The court tried 37 people altogether and handed custodial sentences to 13 oil workers

Related Stories

A court in Kazakhstan has jailed 13 people for their role in deadly riots last December in the remote desert oil town of Zhanaozen.

Thirty-seven defendants, mostly oil workers, were tried after seven months of industrial action ended in rioting.

At least 15 people were killed in the unrest and more than 100 injured.

The violence in Zhanaozen was the worst unrest seen in Kazakhstan since its independence from the Soviet Union more than 20 years ago.

The 13 defendants were given sentences of up to seven years; 16 others received conditional sentences and the remaining defendants were either given amnesties or acquitted.

The hearings were conducted at a youth centre that had been turned into a makeshift courtroom in the Caspian port city of Aktau, about 150km (96 miles) west of Zhanaozen.

'Bottles thrown'

The BBC's Central Asia correspondent Rayhan Demytrie says the scenes in the courtroom where chaotic.

Relatives of the defendants reportedly threw plastic bottles at the judge, amid claims those accused were tortured during the investigation.

Five policemen tried separately for their role in the violence were jailed last week for up to seven years for abuse of power.

Witnesses say that police fired on and beat unarmed protesters, leading to the deaths of at least 15 people.

Security officials maintain they were acting in self defence.

The workers had been striking to demanding better pay and conditions, but the oil company responded by sacking them.

Correspondents say the violence has tarnished the country's image of stability, which has been carefully cultivated by President Nursultan Nazarbayev over the past two decades.

Kazakhstan is Central Asia's largest economy and oil producer.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Asia stories

RSS

Features

  • Atletico's Diego Godin celebrates his goal with teammate David VillaWeek in pictures

    Selection of the best news photographs from around the world


  • Susanne du ToitTop 10 Tips

    Portrait painter Susanne du Toit on being an artist


  • StampsPost independence

    Will stamps get cheaper if Scots go it alone?


  • Rhea10 things

    Rhea birds can be extremely dangerous, plus other factlets


  • Plane at Shannon airportShannon's call

    The airport that hosted a roll-call of presidents


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.