Kazakh authorities detain suspected members of eight organised crime groups

ASTANA – Eight organised criminal groups were detained Feb. 15-16 during special large-scale operations in the Almaty, South Kazakhstan and Zhambyl regions and the city of Almaty, said Oksana Loskutova, an official spokesperson of the Kazakh Prosecutor General’s Office.

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The operations were organised by the National Security Committee and National Bureau of Anti-Corruption to combat organised criminal activities in customs areas at the border crossings.

“To date, 29 suspects were detained including two Kyrgyz citizens, customs officials, border guards, brokers, mediators and members of organised criminal groups,” she said.

Investigative and operational activities are underway.

The country’s criminal situation has improved in the past year, according to an announcement at the Jan. 28 expanded meeting of the Prosecutor General’s Office. The number of offenses was reduced by 12 percent, including crimes against people by 20 percent and property by 11 percent.

At the same time, a quarter of criminal proceedings are terminated on grounds of rehabilitation when citizens are unreasonably involved in the criminal process.

Actions restricting citizens’ rights and interests during pre-trial investigations should be considered. The main indicator of the prosecutor’s effectiveness will be protecting constitutional rights, she added.

Measures must also be taken to reduce relapse rates among former convicts, as the figure has increased from 248 to 938. Despite the decline in the prison population, the number of convicts’ complaints is increasing by 26 percent every year, which is connected with systemic problems and high corruption in the penal system.

Further digitalising the criminal justice system is a priority and the gradual transition of criminal proceedings to electronic format will be continued. Strengthening international partnerships to extradite criminals and return stolen assets from abroad is equally important.

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