Afrique Ameriques Asie Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
Kazakhstan31 December 2004

Call for reopening of investigation into death of online journalist who was hit by car

Reporters Without Borders called for the investigation into online journalist Askhat Sharipzhanov’s death to be reopened today, two days after an Almaty court sentenced Kanat Kalzhanov to three and a half years of hard labour for running him down with his car on 16 July. Sharipzhanov died five days later from his injuries.

"The enquiry did not shed light on the unexplained aspects of this accident," the press freedom organisation said. "We call on Almaty prosecutor Sattybek Ongarbaev to reopen the enquiry as it clearly ignored disturbing elements."

Sharipzhanov was knocked down by Kalzhanov’s car at around 11 p.m. just after leaving the offices of Navigator (, the popular, independent news website he worked for. That afternoon, he had interviewed Altynbek Sarsenbayev, the new information minister, and Zamanbek Nurkadilov, a leading member of the opposition to President Nazerbayev.

The transcripts of these interviews were missing from his computer the next day. His tape recorder was also missing. "These details cast doubt on the official account of the accident," said Navigator editor Yuri Mizinov, a member of an independent commission of enquiry conducted by the Journalists in Danger Fund.

Mizinov said Sharipzhanov’s injuries did not match those usually found in a traffic accident. He had no fractures or visible injuries to the body and none of the internal organs of his torso were hurt. He died from a cerebral haemorrhage caused by cranial traumatism. This would have been the result of a violent blow to the back of his head, whereas the car hit him head on.

Furthermore, an autopsy showed no alcohol in his blood, contradicting the official claim that he was drunk at the time of the accident.

  In this country
2 March - Kazakhstan
Independent newspaper faces closure after astronomical fine for “defamation”
21 January - Kazakhstan
RFE/RL website editor beaten unconscious in Almaty
7 January - Kazakhstan
Masked security men arrest hospitalised newspaper editor on charge of divulging confidential information
3 December - Kazakhstan
Intelligence agency pressures newspaper editor to reveal source of leak
15 October - Kazakhstan
Region’s most popular blog service blocked because of former ambassador’s blog

in the annual report
Kazakhstan - Annual Report 2008
Kazakhstan - Annual report 2007
Kazakhstan - 2006 Annual report

Europe press releases
4 June - Kosovo
Rrokum TV station still excluded by national broadcasting network
2 June - Ukraine
Potential witness’s death deals severe blow to probe into journalist’s murder
2 June - Turkey
Woman journalist held for past five weeks on baseless charge of link to armed group
2 June - Russia
Journalist seeks asylum in Finland after being convicted for prison torture articles
29 May - France
Regrettable decision by appeal court to lift ban on magazine only if offending photo is covered up

5 February 2009 - Bulgaria
“Resignation or resistance, Bulgaria’s embattled press hesitates”
28 January 2009 - Russia
Fact-finding visit : Moscow double murder may have been linked to November attack on local newspaper editor
27 June 2008 - Turkey
Investigation report into the detention of journalist Haci Bogatekin, imprisoned for more than two months and facing ten and a half years in prison

Sign the petitions
Jusuf Ruzimuradov

Europe archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives