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Kazakhstan4 August 2006

French journalist stabbed to death at his home

Reporters Without Borders said today it was “very shocked” by the murder of French journalist Grégoire de Bourgues at his home in Almaty on 2 August and called for an immediate investigation.

De Bourgues, 24, had been in Kazakhstan since 22 April as an editorial adviser for an Athens-based firm called SML Strategic Media, which had sent him there for three months to do an advertising feature for the US magazine Foreign Affairs.

“We urge the authorities to do all they can to solve this murder and we hope the French government will follow the investigation very closely,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said. “We express our sympathy with his family and his employers.”

Three armed men, two of them masked, broke into De Bourgues’ fourth-floor apartment in Kurmangazy Street in the middle of the afternoon. The journalist’s Kazakh interpreter/translator was with him at the time.

The intruders tied both of them up and demanded money in Russian. The prisoners did not resist and the the attackers took a computer, digital camera, mobile phone and a lot of money. Then they took the journalist into another room and stabbed him to death. The interpreter managed to break free after they left and called the police. An autopsy on De Bourgues’ body showed the attackers first tried to strangle him.

He had had several meetings with top government and parliamentary officials as part of his reporting assignment and had been due to fly to Greece the day he was killed.

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