Moscow, Dec 11 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A Kazakhstan court Tuesday handed down a life sentence to a former border guard convicted of killing 15 people this summer at an outpost near the Kazakh-Chinese border.
Vladislav Chelakh, a 19-year-old draftee, was convicted of shooting dead 14 fellow border guards and one civilian in May. The victims' remains were found in a burned-out barracks near Chelakh's border post.
The judge ordered Chelakh to serve his sentence in a maximum security penal colony.
Chelakh, arrested June 5, several days after the bodies were discovered, initially confessed to the crime. He later recanted, however, and claimed he was forced to confess after suffering physical abuse.
Investigators had considered several different scenarios for the killings, including an attack by Islamic extremists or cross-border smugglers.
Alexei Fomin, head of the Sary Bokter border area where Chelakh served, was also sentenced to three years in a penal colony Tuesday for failing to adequately report the crime.
The incident also prompted the head of Kazakhstan's Border Service, Nurzhan Myrzaliyev, to resign earlier this year.