14 April 2008

The Saipov Case: Re-Open the Investigation

The Committee to Protect Journalists is reporting that authorities in Kyrgyzstan have closed their investigation into the murder of Alisher Saipov, editor of the independent Uzbek-language weekly Siyosat (Politics) and a reporter for the Voice of America.

According to CPJ, the Saipov family said Kyrgyz officials informed them that the investigation had been stopped on March 31st due to “the inability to identify a suspect.” The family learned about the closure of the case when they went to the police to inquire about the status of Saipov’s seized laptop.

Kyrgyz police opened a murder probe immediately after the killing in October last year, and President Kurmanbek Bakiyev personally pledged his commitment to solving the case.

CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon says “By refusing to fully investigate this killing, authorities are breaking their own pledge to solve it and sending a signal that journalists can be killed with impunity. We call on the investigators to reopen this case and bring those responsible to justice.”

Saipov, 26, a Kyrgyz citizen of Uzbek ethnicity, was shot dead near his office in Osh in southern Kyrgyzstan. Saipov had covered Uzbekistan’s political and social issues for the Voice of America as well as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and the popular Russia-based Central Asia news Web site Ferghana.

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