By Zulfiya Bainekeeva
“Bergey Ryskaliyev's organized criminal group” case began today, December 23, in the specialized inter-district court on criminal cases of Atyrau Oblast.
22 defendants are accused of embezzlement of public budgetary funds and abuse of authority.
11 defendants were brought from a pre-trial detention center where they stay since the start of the investigation, and the rest, who are under the house arrest and submitted a written pledge not to leave the city, arrived to the court building themselves. There are 5 women on the wrong side of the bar (one of them is under arrest; the rest submitted a written pledge not to leave the city).
The interests of the defendants are represented by 19 lawyers and 10 defenders from among the relatives and persons close to the defendants.
There are also 5 victims and their representatives present in the court. The court room, that according to court press service, can only house 50 people, is packed. At the beginning of the sitting the lawyers demanded from the judge “to create acceptable conditions” for their work - the lawyers were sitting behind the long table, literally, abutting against its neighbour. The main judge, the chairman of the said specialized inter-district court Gulmira Dauletova, stated that the court room has the standard sizes, and asked to take into consideration a large number of defendants and their defenders, that created such tight conditions in the room. Nevertheless, there was no excitement among those who couldn’t get into the court room. In the foyer of the court building 2 monitors were installed that allowed people to watch the hearing in real time mode.
The judge asked the opinion of the defendants and their defenders about audio and video recording by the journalists who were allowed to participate at the hearing. Against the presence of mass media in the court room spoke the defendant Baurzhan Dzhantemirov (former head of finance department) and his lawyer, who accused mass media in “artificial politicizing of this case and a biased attitude”. But by the majority opinion the journalists were allowed to stay.
During the sitting two lawyers - Sisinbayev and Vranchev - again submitted the petition to disqualify the current bench of judges and, in general, all the judges of Atyrau Oblast. They stated their mistrust to the court on the grounds that the results of this case “have been already predetermined by the current authorities in power”, since in relation to the defendants they've already used the wordings such as “organized criminal group” and accusations that follow from this statement. These lawyers expressed their doubts about impartial and unbiased trial by the Atyrau judges, having referred to the example of a well-known illegal condemnation of the Deputy Governor Salimzhan Nakpayev.
To recall, they put forward similar petition at the preliminary hearing, which was rejected then, but they were given the chance to appeal it. But that gave no positive results. In order to discuss today's petition, the bench took a break. The judge Gulnar Khazhenova, 40 minutes later announced the decision: the petition is rejected without the right for appeal.
During a break I approached one of the defendants, the former deputy governor Askar Abdirov:
- Is it a crime to obey the orders given by the management? I am innocent before the Allah and before my people and I hope for the happy end.
The former first deputy governor Bolat Daukenov:
- What comments can one give? You can see it for yourswelf.
Photos by Kanat Eleuov
Defendants who are under house arrest or restriction to travel:
B. DAUKENOV – former first deputy governor of Atyrau Oblast
А. ABDIROV – former deputy governor of Atyrau Oblast
N. КENZHEBEKOV –former head of construction department
B. DZHAISANOV – former head of energy department
A. BEISEBEKOVA – former director of SnabOilStroy LLP
A. BATYRBAEVA – former deputy director of finance, SnabOilStroy LLP
K. SISENOVA – former chief accountant of SnabOilStroy LLP
I. AMIROV - former deputy head of state agency “Construction Administration of Atyrau Oblast”
K. KADYROV – former director of Aziyamarktes LLP
T. SHARYPKINA – former director of Anitakonsalting LLP
A.KOURMANTAYEV – former lead engineer of “Passenger Leasing Company” JSC
B. DZHANTEMIROV – former head of finance department of Atyrau Oblast
A. KERIMOV – former Mayor of Atyrau
R. ALSHENOV – former director of Batystransportsim LLP
K. ALIMOV – former director of Atyraukurmankurylys LLP
A. ECETOB – former sales manager
U. KOURALBAEV – didn't work temporarily
T. DZhIENBAEV – former director of "Gosekspertiza"
G. AZBERGENOVA – former chief accountant of Aktobekhauskonstrakshn LLP
A. KUZEMA – former director of Arkaim 2005 LLP
A. KORITsKIY – businessman