ALMATY – Kazakhstan sentenced two men accused of killing celebrated Olympic figure skater Denis Ten to 18 years in a penal colony Thursday but his family was unhappy, claiming his murder was ordered and there were “other figures involved.”
Last July’s murder of 25-year-old Ten, the first Kazakh skater to win an Olympic medal, caused an outpouring of grief in the former Soviet country where he was feted as a national hero.
On Thursday, a court in Kazakhstan’s largest city found Arman Kudaibergenov and Nurali Kiyasov guilty of killing the ethnic Korean skater while trying to steal mirrors from his car.
A woman was also handed a four-year sentence for failing to provide information about the crime to the authorities.
Zhanar Tolybayeva knew about the crime, according to the prosecution, but failed to report it.
The prosecution sought 20-year sentences for the two men, who are both in their 20s. They have not admitted intentional murder.
According to the prosecutors, Ten, who earned the bronze at the Sochi Olympics in 2014, was twice stabbed in the femoral artery and died in hospital later.
The family of the slain skater is, however unhappy with the investigation and claims the murder was pre-arranged, their lawyer Nurlan Ustemirov said.