IFJ Calls for International Pressure to Find Killers of Kyrgyzstan Journalist

The IFJ has called for international pressure on Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to find the killers of a prominent independent journalist who was brutally attacked and died yesterday.

Gennadi Pavlyuk, a prominent opposition journalist in Kyrgyzstan died on Tuesday after being thrown last week from a sixth-story window inn the Kazakhstan capital Almaty. His arms and legs were bound with tape.

Pavlyuk was on a business trip when he was attacked. Observers in Kyrgyzstan moved quickly to blame the Kyrgyz president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev for the killing, and claiming that he was stepping up efforts to stifle dissent. In recent years, opposition leaders and journalists have been attacked.

“There are reports that security services are engaged in a full scale campaign against dissident voices,” said Aidan White IFJ General Secretary. “The killing of Pavlyuk has all the hallmarks of a calculated and brutal assassination and international pressure is needed to ensure a proper investigation."

The IFJ says that the political friends of the President Bakiyev, particularly the United States which has an air base in the country and which for strategic reasons wishes to maintain good relations with him, must act to ensure that there is no impunity in the attacks on journalists.

Investigators in Kazakhstan say Pavlyuk arrived in Almaty on December 16 and checked into a hotel before leaving with an unidentified man. Two hours later, he was pushed out of the sixth-floor window.

Pavlyuk was the former chief editor of the Bishkek edition of Komsomolskaya Pravda, a newspaper based in Moscow.  During the past months he has been politically active, working closely with Omurbek Tekebaev, a former speaker of the Kyrgyz Parliament who is a senior opposition leader.

In an interview in July President Bakiyev suggested that journalists who had been attacked might have been involved in shady dealings or were “unlucky”.

“This sort of brazen disregard for the safety and security of journalists is shocking,” said White. “The killing of Pavlyuk was cold-blooded murder and is an echo of the assassination of another journalist Alisher Saipov who was shot dead two years ago and whose case remains unsolved. There must be no impunity and the killers must be found.”

 

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The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries around the world