Kazakhstan abolished the death penalty, making permanent a nearly two-decade freeze on capital punishment in the authoritarian Central Asian country, a notice on the presidential website said Saturday.
The notice said President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev had signed off on parliamentary ratification of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights -- a document that commits signatories to the abolition of capital punishment.
Executions were paused in Kazakhstan from 2003 but courts continued to sentence convicts to death in exceptional circumstances, including for crimes deemed acts of terror.
Ruslan Kulekbayev, a lone gunman who killed eight policemen and two civilians during a rampage in Kazakhstan’s largest city Almaty in 2016, was among the convicts set to be executed if the moratorium were lifted.
Kulekbayev will now serve a life sentence in jail instead.