Kazakhstan sentences Almaty gunman to death

Wednesday, Nov 2, 2016,17:40 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Almaty | A gunman who killed 10 people in an attack on a police station in Kazakhstan’s largest city Almaty this summer has been sentenced to death, a court said on Wednesday.

Ruslan Kulekbayev, 26, had confessed to killing 10 people including eight police in July in a rampage that rocked the traditionally stable ex-Soviet republic.

Although Kazakhstan has had a moratorium on the death penalty since 2003, the constitution still allows it to be used in exceptional circumstances, including over terror attacks.

After the Almaty attack, Kazakhstan’s national security service said that Kulekbayev had been exposed to radical Islam during previous stints in jail for armed robbery and other crimes.

In June, four civilians and three soldiers were killed in the western Kazakh city of Aktobe when assailants attacked gun shops and tried to storm a military base in a bus they had hijacked.

President Nursultan Nazarbayev said the Aktobe attackers were followers of the ultra-conservative Salafi strain of Islam.

Nine men are currently standing trial over the attacks, while 21 people were arrested in August in the same part of the country for plotting terror attacks in public places.

Kazakhstan is a vast, energy-rich Central Asian state whose economy has been battered by low oil prices and Western sanctions against neighbouring Russia.