Altynbek Sarsenbayuly (Kazakh: Altynbek Sársenbaıuly; 1962 — February 13, 2006) served in the Government of Kazakhstan before becoming a political opposition leader. At the time of his death, he served as co-chairman of the opposition Naghyz Ak Zhol (True Bright Path) party.
In 2003, after a long career in senior Kazakh government positions, including Mayor of Almaty, Information Minister and Kazakhstani ambassador to Russia, Sarsenbayuly joined the opposition ranks in protest against what he regarded as the administration's authoritarian policies.
Soon after his decision to contest the December 2005 Kazakhstan presidential elections, Sarsenbayuly faced government intimidation tactics, including a physical assault by unidentified individuals during a presidential campaign meeting with voters and the alleged beating of his two nephews in November 2005.
Murder and investigation
On 13 February 2006 the bodies of Sarsenbaev, his bodyguard and his driver were found dead on a road near the city of Almaty, reportedly lying face-down, hands tied on their back, and shot in the head at point blank range.
On 22 February 2006 five officers of Kazakhstan's KNB security service, and specifically the elite Arystan combat division, were arrested for involvement in Sarsenbaev's murder. According to Interior Minister Baurzhan Mukhamedzhanov the five men were paid $25,000 for committing the murder. Nartay Dutbayev, the chief national security officer in the government, resigned on 23 February, the day after his subordinates were arrested.
Police arrested Rustam Ibragimov, a former law enforcement officer, as a suspect for organizing the operation. Four more men were later arrested in connection with the assassination.
On August 31, 2006, all ten of the accused assassins were convicted of the murder of Sarsenbaev. Rustam Ibragimov was sentenced to death, while his nine accomplices received prison terms ranging from 3–20 years. Ibragimov's death sentence was commuted to life in prison in 2014.
The completion of the investigation in December 2013 was marked by a press conference with the Deputy Procurator General of Kazakhstan and the ranking American diplomat in Kazakhstan, Ambassador John Ordway.
Ordway praised the "exceptional cooperation" between Kazakhstani law enforcement and the American Federal Bureau of Investigation, and that the FBI's results were consistent with the findings of the Kazakhstani Procurator General. Ordway emphasized that the FBI's investigation was independent from the Procurator General's office, and the FBI had full and immediate access all materials and information.
- Top Kazakh Aide Quits in Crisis After Killing of Opposition Figure New York Times
- "Remarks of Ambassador Ordway, chargé d'affaires a.i. at the press conference". US Embassy in Kazakhstan. Archived from the original on 2013-12-24.