Saturday, December 10, 2011

Four Assailants Sentenced in Robbery, Murder of Kazakh Tourist

Four Kyrgyz men were sentenced yesterday (December 9) in the robbery-murder of a Kazakh tourist on August 7, at Lake Issyk-Kul. One of the defendants was sentenced to 16 years in prison for beating Erlan Balmakhaev, 32. Three others, who were not named, were sentenced to one, three, and five years, respectively, for their roles in the attack.

COMMENT: Balmakhaev was robbed and severely beaten in the attack. He fell into a coma after being hospitalized and died in a clinic in Bishkek on August 14.

Thousands of Kazakhs flock every year to Issyk-Kul, the 10th largest lake in the world by volume of water, which is a popular holiday resort.

Given the very strong bi-lateral relationship between the two countries, it is surprising that the defendants received relatively light sentences for the severe beating that Balmakhaev sustained. Kyrgyz and Kazakh both are very close in terms of language, culture and religion. Additionally, the two nations have always had very strong economic ties.

Then again, because of their strong relationship with each other, the sentences might well have been less severe.

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