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Suspect in attempted murder of Kazakh opposition activist in Kyiv reportedly surrenders in Kazakhstan

by Kateryna Denisova June 22, 2024 1:05 PM 2 min read
Kazakh opposition activist and journalist Aidos Sadykov survived an assassination attempt in Kyiv. (Screenshot of the ATR video/YouTube)
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Altai Zhakanbayev, one of the two suspects in an assassination attempt of Kazakh opposition activist and journalist Aidos Sadykov in Ukraine, was detained in Kazakhstan after surrendering to the local police on June 21, Kazakhstan's Prosecutor General's Office reported.

Sadykov was shot in the head on June 18 by an attacker who approached his car in the central Shevchenkivskyi District of Kyiv, where the activist lives after fleeing Kazakhstan 10 years ago due to political persecution.

The activist was hospitalized and reportedly remains in a serious condition.

Ukrainian law enforcement agencies suspect two residents of Kazakhstan, Altai Zhakanbayev and Meiram Karatayev, in the attack on Sadykov. They were put on an international wanted list.

The two arrived in Ukraine's capital on June 2 and rented apartments in different locations, according to the law enforcement.

Four days later, Zhakanbayev bought a car, allegedly to follow Sadykov. The suspects learned the victim's schedule, social circles, and routes to Sadykov's home, the statement read. The two reportedly rented an apartment near Sadykov's home on June 8 for the next nine days.

According to the prosecutors, Karatayev was supposed to approach Sadykov's car when he was in it, shoot him, using a firearm with a silencer, and flee. Zhakanbayev was on the lookout for the police.

After the murder attempt, the suspects threw away the gun and crossed the border into Moldova the same day, Ukraine's National Police said.

Zhakanbayev surrendered to law enforcement agencies in Kazakhstan on June 21, according to the Kazakh prosecutors. He was questioned and detained, the prosecutors said.

The search for the second suspect, Karatayev, continues.

The activist's wife, Natalya Sadykova, accuses Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of involvement in the assassination attempt. Tokayev said that the Kazakh authorities are ready to join the investigation.

Aidos Sadykov and his wife Natalya Sadykova fled Kazakhstan and were granted refugee status in Ukraine in 2014. The couple ran the Base YouTube channel, which is critical of the Kazakh government and oligarchs and has over 1 million subscribers.

Until 2010, Sadykov was the leader of one of the branches of the opposition party Azat in Kazakhstan. He then founded the Gastat movement and organized actions in defense of civil and political rights, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RLE).

The Kazakh court sentenced the activist to two years in prison for "resisting the police" in a case the couple called politically motivated.

The Sadykovs have been placed on Kazakhstan's wanted list in October 2023.

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