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International: murder leads to DV law reforms in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan’s former economy minister Kuandyk Bishimbayev has been jailed for 24 years after being convicted of torturing and murdering his wife, Saltanat Nukenova.

Days after her death in November relatives launched a petition urging authorities to pass ‘Saltanat’s Law’ to better protect those at risk of domestic violence. More than 150,000 people signed and the campaign gained momentum during the live streaming of Bishimbayev’s trial, according to media reports.

The country’s law makers effectively decriminalised domestic violence, along with beatings and other acts causing “minor” physical damage, in 2017 by making them punishable only by fines or short jail terms. That change has since been reversed, while Saltanat’s Law, which toughens penalties for violence against women and children, comes into force on 15 June.

The UN estimates around 400 women a year die from domestic violence in Kazakhstan, with many cases going unreported.

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