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Kazakh border guard Chelakh goes on trial

By Agence France-Presse


TALDYKORGAN – A Kazakhstani border guard charged with killing 14 fellow servicemen at a remote frontier post went on trial November 19 accused of murder, damage of property and theft of classified documents.

Vladislav Chelakh was the sole survivor of a May tragedy at a Kazakh border post with China that left 14 guards and a ranger dead.

Chelakh, who was found sheltering in the ranger's hut, confessed to killing his fellow servicemen and the ranger but later retracted the confession, saying that it was done under psychological pressure.

He said the border post had come under attack.

The prosecutor-general's office has said that "internal conflicts and an inexplicable condition in which his mental state was clouded" drove Chelakh to commit the murders.

It was not immediately clear what punishment he could face if convicted.

The military is also seeking compensation from Chelakh to cover the cost of the damaged property, which it estimated at 7.8m KZT (about US $520,000), Sergei Sanin, a representative of a military unit where Chelakh served, said in court.

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