A military court in Kazakhstan has sentenced a brewery tycoon to 21 years on coup-plotting charges, bringing a close to an opaque two-month-long trial that shed little light on exactly what happened.
The fear now is that Tohtar Tuleshov’s conviction could have grave repercussions for small-time civil activists charged on related offenses.
The Astana Military Court on November 7 determined that Tuleshov had sought to provoke turmoil by financing a wave of anti-government protests, as well as financing a transnational criminal group.
Tuleshov, a prominent Shymkent-based entrepreneur popularly known by the moniker of “Beer Baron,” will be stripped of military ranks and state awards granted for public service. He also faces confiscation of much of his property, which included homes, jewelry, cash, 30 horses, three camels and a huge fleet of cars.
The trial began on September 14 and was held behind closed door due to what authorities claimed was classified information under review. Journalists were permitted only to attend the reading of the verdict.
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