Kazakh ex-spy chief jailed for 'divulging state secrets'

 11 Sep 2017 - 17:26

Kazakh ex-spy chief jailed for 'divulging state secrets'
Nartai Dutbayev who served as the chairman for the Central Asian state's powerful KNB national security committee from 2001 to 2006 was handed the sentence on August 24 by a closed doors military court. (Photo courtesy: AKIpress.com)

AFP

Astana, Kazakhstan:  A former head of Kazakhstan's internal intelligence agency has been jailed for seven-and-a-half years for "divulging state secrets", the supreme court said Monday, in a murky case some have linked to a power struggle.

Nartai Dutbayev, who served as the chairman for the Central Asian state's powerful KNB national security committee from 2001 to 2006, was handed the sentence on August 24 by a closed doors military court.

The supreme court did not say to whom Dutbayev allegedly passed on the secrets or explain the length in time between his sentencing and the verdict being made public.

Three other alleged accomplices of Dutbayev were sentenced to between three-and-a-half and five years imprisonment on the same charges.

Analysts have speculated Dutbayev may have been the victim of an elite power struggle that is intensifying as President Nursultan Nazarbayev closes in on three decades at the helm of the oil-rich country's domestic politics.

In 2015, the country's former prime minister Serik Akhmetov was sentenced to 10 years in jail on corruption charges, but a judge ruled he could serve the remainder of his sentence under probation earlier this month.

Nazarbayev, 77, is the only incumbent ruler in the former Soviet realm who ascended to his republic's top leadership position prior to the Union's collapse.

The KNB is Kazakhstan's post-independence successor to the Soviet-era KGB.

Internal security services have remained hugely powerful in many of the bloc's most authoritarian successor states, such as Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.