This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Capital punishment in Kazakhstan" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (February 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Capital punishment in Kazakhstan was abolished for all crimes in 2021.[1]

Until 2021, it had been abolished for ordinary crimes but was still permitted for crimes occurring in special circumstances (such as war crimes).[2][3] The legal method of execution in Kazakhstan had been shooting, specifically a single shot to the back of the head.[citation needed]

The last known executions in Kazakhstan took place in 2003, when 17 men were executed by shooting between May and November.[4][5]

On December 17, 2003, President Nursultan Nazarbayev introduced a moratorium on executions, and later commuted the death sentences of some 40 inmates to life in prison. In 2007, Kazakhstan amended its Constitution, abolishing the death penalty for all crimes except terrorist acts that cause loss of human life and exceptionally grave crimes committed during wartime.[2]

In 2014, Amnesty International classified Kazakhstan as "Abolitionist for ordinary crimes only".[3] Additionally, women could not be sentenced to death under Kazakh law.[citation needed]

Since the moratorium was instituted, six people have been sentenced to death in Kazakhstan. All have since had their death sentences commuted.[citation needed]

In 2008 and 2016, Kazakhstan voted in favor of the UN Moratorium on the death penalty.[citation needed]

On September 23, 2020, Kazakhstani President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced that Kazakhstan had signed the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and ratified it on March 24, 2022.[6] The protocol requires all signatories to commit to abolishing the death penalty, with Tokayev adding that Kazakhstan signed it "[to] fulfill a fundamental right to life and human dignity," with the intention of soon abolishing the death penalty within its borders.[7][8]

Notable death sentences since 2003

In 2006, former police officer Rustam Ibragimov was sentenced to death for masterminding the assassination of prominent politician Altynbek Sarsenbayuly. In 2014, Ibragimov's death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.[9] Until 2016, Ibragimov was the last person to receive a death sentence in Kazakhstan.[citation needed]

In November 2016, a court in Kazakhstan sentenced mass-murderer Ruslan Kulikbayev to death for terrorism after he was convicted of killing ten people (including 8 policemen) in a shooting attack against police officers in Almaty.[10] Kulikbayev's death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 2021 after Kazakhstan abolished the death penalty for all crimes.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Kazakhstan scraps death penalty after nearly 20-year moratorium". Retrieved 2021-01-02.
  2. ^ a b "HANDS OFF CAIN against death penalty in the world". Archived from the original on 2021-01-02. Retrieved 2014-02-23.
  3. ^ a b "Abolitionist and retentionist countries". Amnesty International. Archived from the original on 2014-02-09. Retrieved 2014-02-23.
  4. ^ "Kazakhstan and the death penalty: reform of the criminal code counters the abolitionist tendency". July 2014. Archived from the original on 2021-01-02. Retrieved 2017-04-25.
  5. ^ "Document". Amnesty International. Archived from the original on 2010-12-05. Retrieved 2017-04-25.
  6. ^ "12. Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty". United Nations Treaty Collection. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  7. ^ "Kazakhstan abolishes death penalty". 24 September 2020.
  8. ^ "Kazakhstan Signs Global Treaty to Abolish Death Penalty". Death Penalty Information Center. 29 September 2020. Archived from the original on 2 January 2021. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  9. ^ "Ten convicted over Kazakh murder". BBC. 31 August 2006.
  10. ^ "Kazakh man sentenced to death in Islamic extremist attack". Fox News. 2 November 2016. Archived from the original on 2 January 2021. Retrieved 3 November 2016.