Politician seen beating his wife on CCTV during deadly 8-hour attack is JAILED after case sparks uproar in Kazakhstan

A SENIOR politician was jailed for 24 years today after killing his wife after a brutal eight hour beating filmed on CCTV.

Saltanat Nukenova, 31, died of brain trauma after the vicious attack by Kazakhstan’s ex-economic minister, Kuandyk Bishimbayev, 44.

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Kuandyk Bishimbayev was jailed today for 24 years for killing his wifeCredit: East2West
CCTV shows Bishimbayev holding his wife Saltanat Nukenova by her head at the start of the eight hour beating

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CCTV shows Bishimbayev holding his wife Saltanat Nukenova by her head at the start of the eight hour beating
Shocking footage showed the politician grabbing Nukenova before beating her to death

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Shocking footage showed the politician grabbing Nukenova before beating her to death
Nukenova died after the vicious attack that shocked Kazakhstan

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Nukenova died after the vicious attack that shocked KazakhstanCredit: Newsflash

Bishimbayev had been charged with torturing and murdering his astrologer wife in November 2023, but he denied deliberately killing her in a restaurant.

Desperately seeking to avoid a life term, he told judge Ayzhan Kulbayeva: “I am guilty of intentionally causing grievous harm to her health, which resulted in death through negligence. 

“I am guilty, but not of premeditated murder.”

He was convicted of “murder with special cruelty” and “torture”,  but the sentence was less than the life term that his wife’s family had vociferously demanded. 

A video of the savage beating was so disturbing that members of the jury wept when it was shown in court what became the “trial of the century” in Kazakhstan, with comparisons to the OJ Simpson case.

In response to Nukenova’s murder, rallies were held across Kazakhstan, demanding calls new legislation to tackle domestic violence.

The victim’s father said before the verdict: “I hope this inhuman will get a life term.”

Bishimbayev gasped “Why?” as the verdict was read the judge, persistently adding he was “innocent”.

The trial was the first of its kind to ever be streamed online and the country was transfixed by the court broadcasts.

The politician’s jail term is a huge fall from being a possible heir to his close confidante ex-president Nursultan Nazarbayev.

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He shocked the court with his pitiful defence that he meant to attack her but “was clearly aware that no vital organ should [be hurt].”

His mother-in-law shouted in court: “You were beating her to death for several hours!

“I didn’t see my daughter, I didn’t bury her, I didn’t see her face.

“How did you beat her without particular cruelty?”

Bishimbayev had been a high-flying politician who was already jailed in 2018 on corruption charges

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Bishimbayev had been a high-flying politician who was already jailed in 2018 on corruption chargesCredit: East2West
Bishimbayev beat his wife at his own restaurant iBAU in Astana, Kazakhstan in November 2023

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Bishimbayev beat his wife at his own restaurant iBAU in Astana, Kazakhstan in November 2023
Nukenova died of head wounds

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Nukenova died of head woundsCredit: Newsflash
The businessman pictured on trial for the killing of his wife - a case that was watched by millions

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The businessman pictured on trial for the killing of his wife – a case that was watched by millions

Nukenova died of horrific head wounds caused by a strike with a “blunt object” after a night out in a restaurant named BAU, owned by the couple, which was closed to other guests.

Her relatives said: “These were not ‘bruises’ on the face, but holes in her skull, at the back of the head and even inside her,” adding that her eye had been dislodged.

The court heard how Bishimbayev had tried to destroy all CCTV evidence and sent the restaurant’s staff home to avoid witnesses. 

The prosecutor said in court that Nukenova had tried to leave him several times after repeated beatings.

On the day of the attack, prosecutors said: “Bishimbayev showed Nukenova pornography and asked if she was in it”.

When they met at the restaurant to resolve their problems, he beat her and she hid in a toilet, he said.

“Bishimbayev broke down the door, pulled her out, and carried on beating her.

“After dragging her out of the toilet, Bishimbayev grabbed Nukenova by the throat and strangled her, causing her to lose consciousness.”

The UN estimates some 400 women a year are killed in Kazakhstan in domestic violence crimes.

The country has 100,000 registered cases of domestic violence annually. 

Who is Kuandyk Bishimbayev?

KUANDYK Bishimbayev has been convicted of the murder of his wife after beating her to death last year.

But the businessman, who is also Kazakhstan’s former Minister of National Economy, is already well known to law enforcement.

Bishimbayev, 44, was once seen as a fresh, Western-educated face of Kazakhstan’s government and a former “favourite” of former leader Nursultan Nazarbayev.

In 2018, however, he was jailed for bribery and placed in an institution of the maximum security penal system.

In February 2019, he appealed for pardon and saw his sentence reduced to four years, before he was pardoned less than two years into his initial ten-year sentence.

Bishimbayev was born in the city of Kyzyl-Orda (now Kyzylorda) in 1980.

In 2001, he earned masters in business administration from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. as part of the Bolashak scholarship.

In May 2016, he was made Kazakhstan’s Minister of National Economy after waves of unrest during the protests against land reforms to replace Erbolat Dosaev.

He was eventually dismissed from his post on December 28, 2016.

The jailed politician had previously been seen as a high-flyer in oil-rich Kazakhstan who was destined for greatness.

However, Bishimbayev was sentenced to ten years on corruption charges in 2018 before a pardon by Nazarbayev after serving less than two years.

He then wed Nukenova soon after divorcing his second wife Nazym Bishembayeva but the relationship was tempestuous. 

They had met when she provided him with “astrological services”.

His ex-wife Nazym reacting to Nukenova’s death last year said: “It’s a tragedy… My sincere condolences to Saltanat’s family. 

“I didn’t even grasp what happened when people started calling me. It’s so awful, it’s utter shock.”

The politician’s cousin, Bakytzhan Baizhanov, was jailed for four years for failure to report a crime in progress.

Nazarbayev stepped down in 2019 in favour of Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, his chosen successor.

HOW YOU CAN GET HELP:

Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families

  • Always keep your phone nearby.
  • Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
  • If you are in danger, call 999.
  • Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
  • Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
  • If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
  • Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.

If you are a ­victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support ­service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – messageinfo@supportline.org.uk.

Women’s Aid provides a live chat service – available weekdays from 8am-6pm and weekends 10am-6pm.

You can also call the freephone 24-hour ­National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.

The UN estimates that 400 women are killed in domestic abuse crimes every year in Kazakhstan

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The UN estimates that 400 women are killed in domestic abuse crimes every year in KazakhstanCredit: East2West
Nukenova's family had wanted a longer sentence than 24 years

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Nukenova’s family had wanted a longer sentence than 24 yearsCredit: East2West
A woman pictured at a 'No to domestic violence' public rally in Kazakhstan in memory of murdered Nukenova

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A woman pictured at a ‘No to domestic violence’ public rally in Kazakhstan in memory of murdered NukenovaCredit: East2West

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