Kazakhstan's Former Prime Minister Released From Prison Early

QARAGHANDY, Kazakhstan -- Former Kazakh Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov, who was convicted on corruption charges in 2015, was released from prison on September 21.

Akhmetov, 59, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in December 2015 after a high-profile corruption trial.

He initially pleaded not guilty, but his prison term was cut by two years after he acknowledged guilt and asked for clemency in 2016.

Akhmetov's prison term was again shortened in January, by one year and seven months, under an amnesty enacted by President Nursultan Nazarbaev in December.

On September 6, the Qaraghandy regional court in central Kazakhstan ruled that Akhmetov's remaining prison term will be replaced by "limitation of freedom," a suspended sentence with parolelike restrictions.

The ruling took effect on September 21.

Akhmetov, a native of the central Qaraghandy region, was prime minister from September 2012 to April 2014.