Kazakh military tribunal upholds life sentence for border guard
ALMATY, June 21 (RAPSI) - The Military Tribunal of Kazakhstan on Friday upheld the sentence handed down to border guard Vladislav Chelakh, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in December 2012 for killing 14 border guards and one gamekeeper.
The court also dismissed his lawyer's cassation appeal.
Lawyer Serik Sarsenov earlier said that his client would appeal for a pardon to the head of state, a procedure which is required before the case can be referred to the UN Human Rights Committee.
The lawyer said that Chelakh does not intend to plead guilty but will only write that, in his opinion, the courts in Kazakhstan which heard his case declared him guilty illegally.
Chelakh has been accused of murder, theft, illegally obtaining and distributing state secrets, embezzlement or the extortion of weapons, and a number of other crimes.
The massacre took place in May last year at the Arkankergen temporary border post in the Almaty Region near the Kazakh-Chinese border.
After the border post went off air, a neighboring unit was sent to inspect the location. When they arrived, they found a burned down barrack and 14 dead inside. A gamekeeper's body was found at a nearby house.
Chelakh, the sole survivor, was detained several days later. He initially confessed to murdering his colleagues and the gamekeeper, but later withdrew his testimony, claiming that he had testified under duress.
On December 11, Chelakh was found guilty of mass murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.
The Kazakh Military Tribunal's Board of Criminal Appeals has upheld the sentence.
The court has also partially upheld the civil lawsuits filed by the victims' families to recover over $218,000 in material and moral damages.