Nur-Sultan, Jan 8 (EFE).- The former head of Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee, Karim Masimov, has been arrested for high treason, the intelligence agency said Saturday.
Masimov, who was dismissed on January 5 along with the rest of the government, is the main suspect in the investigation opened in the wake of the violent clashes that have shaken the Central Asian republic in recent days.
Masimov, who served as prime minister before taking over in 2016 as head of the NSC, faces up to 15 years in prison.
The statement specifies that other unnamed individuals have also been arrested as part of the investigation.
On January 6, Masimov took part in a meeting of the Security Council headed by president Kasim-Yomart Tokayev, after which he was arrested.
Former presidential adviser Ermukhamet Ertisbaev on Saturday accused Masimov of concealing for years the presence of camps where participants in the current anti-government unrest were allegedly trained.
“That is a terrible state crime,” he told public television.
Other analysts openly accuse Masimov of organizing a coup with the help of mercenaries from Afghanistan and the Middle East.
Tokayev on Friday gave the order to “shoot to kill” without warning against participants in the unrest in the former Soviet republic who resist the authorities.
On Saturday, he said that following the deployment of troops by the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the post-Soviet military alliance, authorities have been able to send more units to the former capital, Almaty, the epicenter of the violence.
Although Tokayev said the situation is stabilizing, the Kremlin began repatriations of its nationals on Saturday, as a Russian military aircraft repatriated 25 tourists who had gone to Kazakhstan to ski for the New Year holidays.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced that on Sunday it would repatriate Russians living in the region surrounding Almaty who want to urgently leave the country.
The United States has also authorized non-essential officials and the families of all employees to leave the consulate in Almaty, the former Kazakh capital.
Dozens of people, including 18 police officers, have been killed in the biggest protests in 30 years of independence, according to authorities.
The protests began peacefully earlier this year over rising gas prices, but erupted into violent riots in several cities in the Caspian Sea country. EFE