Minister of Kazakhstan Faces Trial for Torture and Murder of Wife

Almaty, Kazakhstan – Former Kazakh Minister, Kuandyk Bishimbayev, faces charges of torture and murder after a disturbing incident occurred at a family-owned restaurant in November 2023. Caught on camera dragging his wife by her hair and subjecting her to hours of brutal assault, the 43-year-old has been on trial for the death of his 31-year-old wife, Saltanat Nukenova.

The investigation revealed that Bishimbayev mercilessly attacked Nukenova for over eight hours at the restaurant in Almaty without alerting the authorities. During the trial at the Supreme Court of Kazakhstan, CCTV footage depicting the horrendous attack was broadcasted online for the public to witness.

Tragically, Nukenova succumbed to brain trauma following the vicious assault. A coroner’s report detailed the extent of her injuries, including a broken nasal bone and multiple bruises across her body. Despite the evidence against him, Bishimbayev maintained his innocence, claiming Nukenova’s death resulted from self-inflicted injuries.

In response to this heinous act, Kazakhstan’s President, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, signed a law dubbed “Saltanat’s Law” on April 15, 2024, to strengthen spousal abuse laws in the country. The bill aims to address the prevalent issue of domestic violence in Kazakhstan, where statistics show that one in six women has experienced abuse at the hands of a male partner.

Critics argue that Kazakhstan’s 2017 decision to decriminalize domestic violence, making it punishable by fines, has contributed to underreporting of abuse cases, especially among women from lower-income households. As a result, a proposal to reverse this policy is currently under consideration by parliament.

The tragic case of Saltanat Nukenova sheds light on the urgent need to address and prevent domestic violence in Kazakhstan, emphasizing the importance of implementing stricter laws and providing support for victims of abuse. It serves as a stark reminder of the devastating consequences of gender-based violence that continue to plague society.