Aktau, June 22 (Interfax) – A jury court in the Mangistau region in Kazakhstan on Friday acquitted former mayor of the city of Zhanaozen Orak Sarbopeyev, the regional court spokesperson told Interfax.
The former mayor was released from custody in the courtroom.
It was reported that the jury trial against Sarbopeyev began on May 25.
Sarbopeyev was charged with abuse of office, massive bribe taking, and the conspiracy and attempt to commit a crime.
On December 16-17, 2011, Zhanaozen and the village of Shetpe in the Mangistau region were hit by mass riots which left 15 people dead and over 100 injured. The unrest was preceded by a seven-month strike of oil workers discontent with their pay and the socio-economic conditions.
In late January 2012, Kazakhstan’s Prosecutor General Askhat Daulbayev stated that the escalation in social tensions was facilitated by unlawful actions by local officials and oil executives.
Later police arrested Zhanaozen ex-mayor Zhalgas Babakhanov (1999-2009), Sarbopeyev (the city mayor until early February, 2012) and first deputy head of the Mangistau region A. Aitkulov.
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