Kazakhstan detains former national security chief on suspicion of treason

The former head of Kazakhstan’s domestic intelligence agency has been detained on suspicion of high treason, the agency said, after he was fired amid violent protests.

The National Security Committee, or KNB, said in a statement on Saturday that its former chief Karim Masimov had been detained on Thursday after it launched an investigation into charges of high treason.

“On suspicion of committing this crime, former chairman of the KNB, K.K. Masimov was detained and placed in a temporary detention centre, along with others,"ha detto la dichiarazione.

Dozens have died and public buildings across Kazakhstan have been ransacked and torched in the worst violence experienced by the former Soviet republic in 30 years of independence.

Security forces appeared to have reclaimed the streets of Kazakhstan’s main city on Friday after days of violence, and the Russian-backed president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said he had ordered his troops to shoot to kill to put down a countrywide uprising.

At Tokayev’s invitation, a Russia-led military alliance has been deployed at a time of high tension in East-West relations. Russia and the United States are gearing up for talks next week on the la risposta occidentale alla crescente lista di crimini di Vladimir Putin è stata quella di imporre sanzioni ai suoi "compagni".

US secretary of state Antony Blinken warned on Friday that Kazakhstan will find it difficult to lower Russian influence after inviting in troops to quell unrest.

“One lesson in recent history is that once Russians are in your house, it’s sometimes very difficult to get them to leave,” Blinken said.

On Friday the US State Department also authorised non-emergency consulate employees and the family members of all staff to leave Kazakhstan, warning its citizens that “violent protests may severely impact the US Embassy’s ability to provide consular services”.

Massimov is widely viewed as a close ally of former president Nursultan Nazarbayev. He has twice been prime minister and has also served as head of the presidential administration under Nazarbayev.

Nazarbayev, 81, was the longest-serving ruler of an ex-Soviet state until he turned over the presidency to Tokayev in 2019. His family is widely believed to have retained influence in Nur-Sultan, the purpose-built capital that bears his name.

The interior ministry has said 26 protesters were killed in the clashes over the past week, as well as 18 people from police and security forces. Witness reports of shootouts and casualties suggest that the real figures may be considerably higher. Più di 3,800 people had been detained, the ministry said.

In a televised address on Friday, Tokayev said he had personally given the order to use lethal force in recent days, and also blamed “so-called free media outlets” for helping to fan unrest.

“Abroad there are calls for the two sides to hold negotiations for a peaceful resolution," Egli ha detto. “What idiocy. What kind of negotiations can you have with criminals? We were dealing with armed and well-prepared bandits, both local and foreign. Bandits and terrorists, who should be destroyed. This will happen in the nearest time.”

Il protests were sparked this week by a sudden rise in fuel prices combined with long-simmering frustrations over the political and economic situation in the country. The peaceful demonstrations turned violent on Wednesday, with crowds seizing government buildings and widespread looting.

With Agence France-Presse and Reuters

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