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Kazakh border convicted of murdering 14 comrades despite doubts over confession

A court in Kazakhstan has convicted a border guard of killing 14 of his comrades and a park ranger at a remote outpost near the Chinese border despite widespread skepticism about his confession.

Vladislav Chelakh was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment on Tuesday for the killings in May.

Chelakh was found hiding in a cave a week after the killings, wearing civilian clothing and carrying a pistol. Prosecutors said he confessed, and a videotape of the purported confession later surfaced online.

However, many Kazakhs doubted Chelakh's guilt and claims abounded on the Internet that he confessed under duress. A television newsreader quit his job rather than report the confession.

Analysts said the doubts reflect widespread distrust of authority in the tightly ruled former Soviet Central Asian nation.