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Russia4 July 2005

AFP correspondent Ali Astamirov kidnapped exactly two years ago in Ingushetia


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AFP correspondent Ali Astamirov kidnapped exactly two years ago in Ingushetia

Reporters Without Borders today called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to order the revival of the investigation into the disappearance two years ago of Ali Astamirov, Agence France-Presse’s correspondent in Ingushetia and Chechnya, who was abducted by gunmen in front of fellow journalists on 4 July 2003 in the village of Altievo, 3 km from Nazran, Ingushetia’s main city.

"We are very worried about Astamirov because the investigation by the authorities in Nazran and Moscow continues to be paralysed," the organisation said, adding, "Reporters Without Borders will continue to campaign about this case until those responsible have been identified and brought to justice."

Investigators in Moscov and Nazran have discovered nothing about Astamirov’s abduction and, according to AFP’s Moscow bureau, no one has ever been detained or questioned. Neither AFP nor Astamirov’s family ever received any ransom demand and no one even tried to contact them.

Aged 34 at the time of his abduction, of Chechen nationality and the father of two children, Astamirov had been working for AFP for a year. In the months prior to his kidnapping, he received anonymous threats and changed his place of residence out of concern for his security.

AFP and Reporters Without Borders have repeatedly contacted the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the Russian government about the case.

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