A Kazakh military court Wednesday sentenced the former son-in-law of President Nursultan Nazarbayev in absentia to 20 years in jail on a range of charges, including planning a coup, the Prosecutor General's office said in a statement.
The sentence comes as another blow for the former Kazakh Ambassador to Austria, Rakhat Aliyev, who was also sentenced to 20 years in January for kidnapping and embezzlement. Aliyev continues to maintain his innocence and says the accusations are part of a state-organized plot.
Made in Israel?
The court found that Aliyev had funded training of armed fighters in Israel and Egypt with the aim of toppling the Kazakh government. Other charges against him included abuse of office, embezzlement of state property, unauthorized acquisition of state secrets, and theft of firearms and ammunition.
15 other defendants, including the former head of Kazakhstan's successor agency to the KGB, Alnur Musayev, were sentenced to prison terms ranging from five to 20 years, the statement said. The trial began Jan. 23 and took place behind closed doors.
Aliyev was named ambassador to Austria last February. He was dismissed from the post in May after he publicly accused Kazakh President Nazarbayev of a ''retreat to the totalitarian Soviet past,'' and said he would run for president in 2012.
He was later divorced from Nazarbayev's eldest daughter Dariga, who is widely viewed as a potential successor to the 67-year-old president.
Aliyev was arrested in Vienna on June 1 on an international warrant, but Austria has so far rejected Kazakhstan's extradition requests and Aliyev has requested asylum, arguing that his life would be in danger if he were sent back to the ex-Soviet republic.
Reuters contributed to this report